Inside Twitter's failed Space launch
How a decimated team and shrinking server capacity rained on Ron DeSantis' parade
Programming note: Platformer will be off Monday for Memorial Day.
At around 5PM PT on Wednesday, Elon Musk and David Sacks joined a call with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign manager, Generra Peck. Their task: to explain what the hell had just happened.
Their high-profile event on Twitter Spaces, where DeSantis had just announced his run for president, had been plagued by technical glitches. The first audio livestream cut out before DeSantis could get his news out. The second one fared little better, drawing roughly 700,000 listeners at its peak. For context, Fox News claimed it drew 7.7 million viewers for Trump’s Tulsa rally in 2020.
Musk attempted to put a positive spin on the day’s events. He gave Peck “behind the scenes details from Twitter as they handled the nearly 1 million people trying to get into the Spaces room,” Peck tweeted.
The rest of her tweet fell short on details, though. So, for those who didn’t get a call from Musk yesterday, here’s what sources told Platformer about what was happening behind the scenes.
Perhaps the most important thing to know about Spaces’ technical problems: over the past several months Musk cut the Spaces team, which once numbered as many as 100 employees, down to roughly three people.
For months now, the Spaces team has been operating without most of the institutional knowledge it accumulated since Twitter added live audio conversations in 2021 to compete with then-hot Clubhouse.
“Practically no one remaining knows the current architecture in depth,” one person lamented on the pseudonymous employee forum Blind.
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