Twitter trudges through first World Cup week rife with errors

Updated

Twitter’s engineers apparently weren’t joking last week when they said the service wouldn’t be able to keep up with the World Cup.

The microblogging service has suffered bout after bout of errors today, reminiscent of its early instability when the company was just starting out.

The company took trending topics down temporarily during the afternoon¬†and its new geotagging feature “Places” earlier this morning.

It also warned users that they might be missing tweets or even have duplicates after company engineers failed to install a new method for caching or storing timelines of tweets. The service suffered an outage overnight only to come back six hours later at 4 a.m. Pacific time this morning.

The company said last Friday it would be facing a “Perfect Storm of Whales,” referring to the “fail whale,” an affectionate name for the little cartoon above that appears whenever the service is over-capacity.

“As more people turn to Twitter to see what’s happening in the world (or in the World Cup), you may still see the whale when there are unprecedented spikes in traffic,” the company warned on Friday. “We anticipate a significant surge in activity on Twitter. While we are making every effort to prepare for that surge, the whale may surface.”

Update: Twitter has more information about the downtime on its official blog:

“Should Twitter have been ready?
Record traffic and unprecedented spikes in activity are never simple to manage. However, we were well aware of the likely impact of the World Cup. What we didn’t anticipate was some of the complexities that have been inherent in fixing and optimizing our systems before and during the event.

What’s next?
Over the next two weeks, we may perform relatively short planned maintenance on the site. During this time, the service will likely be taken down. We will not perform this work during World Cup games, and we will provide advance notification.”


We're studying digital marketing compensation: how much companies pay CMOs, CDOs, VPs of marketing, and more, with ChiefDigitalOfficer. Help us out by filling out the survey, and we'll share the results with you.