Kausar Fatima looks at crisis suffered by a global platform
Elon Musk is widely known to be a maverick and his hostile takeover of Twitter in disarray has been a big blow for the global website used and adored by millions of users globally. Whatever this naughty billionaire has in store for his new acquisition, for the moment the website is in a state of turmoil and may well crash in the process. In addition to the closure of its headquarters, Twitter has closed access to internal communication tools and company devices in the hands of workers, as it did a few weeks ago by dismissing 50 per cent of the workforce. This intense resignation of workers comes after Elon Musk made them an ultimatum to commit to working extremely hard at the company or leave. Hundreds of workers had said their goodbyes via Twitter’s internal communication tools, accepting Musk’s offer of three months’ pay if they opted to leave their positions. Quite a few of those are engineers, developers and coders – the people who work on the guts of what makes Twitter function.
In view of this situation, there has been growing fear among users of the social network that it will finally close, as some of the company’s former employees have predicted, stating that there is no minimum number of engineers in charge of any of the critical systems, which could cause the platform to stop working at some point. One of the employees who have decided to reject Musk’s ultimatum has detailed his reasons for preferring to stop working at the company, assuring that he does not want to stay to build a product that is being poisoned inside and out. Amid ongoing fallout from Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, speculation of the platform’s imminent collapse is swirling – leaving users wondering what parts of their online selves they will get to keep.
After Musk laid off thousands of workers, many users have reported signs the platform is falling apart in real time – from glitching home pages to log-in failures – and researchers are desperately urging users to download their tweets in case Twitter implodes completely. Digital archiving – the process of preserving online content for future use – has expanded steadily since the launch of the internet but still exists in a patchwork, decentralised framework. The apparent fall of Twitter has given rise to the fears that this website may be hacked as world leaders, politicians and celebrities all have personal Twitter accounts with millions of followers – a low-hanging fruit for a hacker wanting a lot of people to see their scam. Or they might just want it to disappear, so they bombard it with web traffic to see if it gets overwhelmed and shuts down that way. Attempts like this will be happening all the time – it is a constant battle.
Cyber security is an important part of any 21st century company’s day-to-day operations. Last week Twitter’s head of cyber security left and it is not known if they were replaced. Twitter’s security is likely to be pretty robust but that robustness requires continuing maintenance as new vulnerabilities are regularly unearthed, new chinks in the armour are always around the corner. The servers may be knocked out – either by someone with a grudge, or by mistake during a routine bit of maintenance that is not properly supervised and that would spell disaster. TW