How likely is a complete Twitter meltdown?

People are singing their last birdsong on Twitter, while some fear for what will be a permanent goodbye to the platform, which has shrunk dramatically in the few weeks it’s been owned by billionaire Elon Musk.

While it’s unlikely that Twitter will shut down completely, leaving employees warn of service outages, disruptions and security risks.

There are also concerns about the platform’s capacity to handle traffic at major events such as the start of the World Cup this weekend.

On Thursday, more employees quit after Musk gave them an ultimatum: Sign up for a new “hardcore” era or leave with a three-month severance package. The new departures came just two weeks after Musk fired half of the company. He has also eliminated thousands of jobs from contractors and fired some employees who publicly criticized him. Insolvency is possible without cost reductions and additional income.

Some former employees who didn’t want to subscribe to Musk’s new vision took to Twitter to explain their decisions.

“I left because I didn’t know what to stay for anymore,” said Peter Clowes, a senior software engineer who resigned Thursday. wrote in a thread. “I used to stay for the people, the vision and of course the money (let’s be honest). All of that has changed radically or was uncertain.”

Clowes noted that any employee who chose to stay would have had to sign their option for a severance package before seeing his offer and without having a clear picture of the future Musk has planned. He said of his team of 75 engineers, only three chose to stay.

Employees who were laid off in early November still have not received any communication from Twitter, aside from a note to their personal email addresses that severance packages would be taking longer to arrive, according to a former employee who, like others, works with NPR spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing the loss of the promised severance pay and retaliation from the company.

While the platform is still working, many alerting features may deteriorate as the site is run by a worn-out team.

Users are preparing for a Twitter shutdown

Many users encourage each other to protect themselves from an outage or injury by downloading their data archives – including their tweets and followers lists. But the load placed on Twitter’s systems could be a game changer former employee said.

They also worried about what could happen to Twitter’s data centers if staff don’t monitor them adequately.

“If a network cable gets disconnected, or if a hard drive fills up, or if a small power switch somewhere goes out, there aren’t enough people to handle those situations,” they said.

There are also safety concerns. Twitter saw a spike in racist and anti-Semitic tweets following Musk’s takeover. Many of the employees and contractors who were laid off or terminated worked in teams to curb toxic and illegal content.

Musk formulated his interest in buying Twitter primarily as increasing freedom of expression. He has previously criticized his policies against hate speech, harassment and misleading claims.

But he’s had a steep learning curve as Twitter’s self-proclaimed “Chief Twit.” Hours after closing the deal in late October, he tweeted, “Comedy is now legal on Twitter.” Then when some users changed their names and photos to mimic his own, he changed his tune and explained“Going forward, any Twitter handling that engages in impersonation without clearly stating ‘parody’ will be permanently banned.”

Musk’s habit of announcing changes and features abruptly, and rolling them back just as quickly, has left staff feeling whipped — and in some cases — redundant.

“A Twitter whose policies are defined by unilateral edict hardly needs a trust and safety function dedicated to its principled development,” wrote Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, who resigned earlier this month a New York Times op ed.

With security, technical, and content moderation teams gutted, the platform is also more vulnerable to hacks and abuse.

Twitter is a platform that’s “so complicated that nobody really understands how it all works,” said another former employee. “The loss of the security organization is bad, the loss of all this institutional knowledge is worse.”

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