Twitter experienced one of the site’s longest outages for years, with the social network completely unavailable to users around the globe on web and mobile for almost an hour.
According to Downdetector.co.uk, which tracks site outages, the service became unavailable at 12:55pm UK time, and stayed off for 45 minutes. The site appears to have failed globally, with issues reported in the UK, US and Europe.
The outage was the longest and most severe in years. Although Twitter was notorious for collapsing under heavy load in its early days, with older users fondly recalling the “fail whale” error message that appeared when the service was over capacity, it has not had a multi-hour outage since 2016, when it was unaccessible for two and a half hours.
Since then, the site’s importance to global politics and culture has grown, and a long-lasting outage could even have had a material effect on the Conservative party’s leadership election, where runners and riders have been trading barbs since Boris Johnson announced his resignation last week .
Unlike other major recent experiences, the problem was limited to Twitter itself, and no major infrastructural layer of the internet seems to have been affected. Last year, an outage at “content distribution network” Fastly took down a broad swathe of the internet, including the Guardian, for almost an hour. That was triggered, Fastly said, by a single user updating their settings, triggering a cascading error that ultimately shutdown 85% of the sites that rely on its infrastructure to stay online.
Twitter declined to comment on the outage, but pointed the Guardian to a tweet which reads: “Some of you are having issues accessing Twitter and we’re working to get it back up and running for everyone. Thanks for sticking with us.” On the site’s own status dashboard, the social network and all related services were wrongly marked as “operational” throughout the outage.