DeSantis Launch Casts Doubt on Elon Musk’s Aims of More Twitter Streams

  • Ron DeSantis’ 2024 announcement on Twitter Spaces was plagued by ongoing technical difficulties.
  • The gaffe is the latest example of the outages that have afflicted Twitter since Elon Musk took control.
  • The launch calls into question Twitter’s streaming capabilities following cuts to the server.

Elon Musk has big plans for Twitter, including Wednesday’s use of Twitter Spaces to livestream Twitter’s biggest political event yet as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his 2024 presidential candidacy.

But the hour-long event was plagued by technical difficulties, ongoing glitches, and faulty sound even after a nearly 30-minute delay caused by server problems.

“We’ve got so many people here that we are kind of melting the servers,” said tech entrepreneur David Sacks, who co-hosted the announcement with Musk. 

The livestream initially drew more than 500,000 listeners — a hefty number for sure, though nowhere near the largest number of people gathered in a single digital space, as Sacks erroneously suggested on Wednesday. (A little over a month ago, Musk did a Twitter Spaces discussion with a BBC journalist that drew 3 million listeners.)

Musk has more than 140 million followers, all of whom were alerted to the start of DeSantis’ announcement. The Twitter CEO was eventually forced to relaunch the livestream using Sacks’ Twitter account, and the secondary attempt garnered only about half the number of original viewers. 

It is the latest example of the technical outages and user glitches that have increasingly afflicted Twitter since Musk took control of the social media platform late last year, and calls into question the website’s ability to meet Musk’s goal of more streaming.

Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment. An Insider email to Twitter’s press team was answered with a single poop emoji.

The growing number of technical issues are likely attributed to a wave of mass layoffs Musk oversaw soon after the Twitter acquisition, including cuts to several technical and support staff positions, as well as the newfound CEO’s decision to cut Twitter’s server capacity as a money-saving move.

In November, Musk announced his “Deep Cuts Plan,” in an internal company message, with a goal of reducing spending by $1.5 million a day on the company’s data servers and cloud services.

At the time, some Twitter employees expressed concerns that the cost-saving plan would lead to widespread server disruptions and possible website crashes during high-volume events such as elections — and perhaps presidential announcements.

Indeed, Twitter outages, glitches, and website bugs have been on the rise since the cuts last year, according to a New York Times report in February.

In February alone, the site notched four large outages compared to just nine in the entire previous year, the outlet reported. 

Musk has cut the number of Twitter employees by more than half since he took over, including several engineers who were previously in charge of keeping the website up and running.  

Both Musk and Sacks acknowledged the technical difficulties during the Wednesday DeSantis event, blaming the number of listeners and an “unprecedented scalability level.”

The glitchy Spaces event called into question Musk’s future aims for Twitter, which includes a new streaming show hosted by former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson — the most popular cable news personality in US history, who frequently drew millions of viewers more than DeSantis’ 500,000.

Conservative outlet the Daily Wire also announced this week it would bring its slate of podcasts over to Twitter on May 30.

Musk also invited longtime CNN host Don Lemon to start a Twitter show after he was let go from the network earlier this year, and the Twitter CEO issued an open call to “all presidential candidates” following the Wednesday DeSantis stream. 

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