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Twitter's Importance Has Been Elevated Since Elon Musk's Purchase

Permalink 11/13/22 08:12, by OGRE / (Jeff), Categories: News, Background, Fun, In real life, On the web, Politics, Strange_News

Twitter is being treated like some kind of sacred historical archive -- now that Elon Musk has purchased it. Before that Twitter was just Twitter. People posting videos, chatting, arguing, but nothing of significant "need." But that has all changed. The terrifying thought that Twitter could just go poof is now an issue.

This MIT Technology Review article explains how dire the world's circumstances might be if Twitter were to go down.

Almost from the time the first tweet was posted in 2006, Twitter has played an important role in world events. The platform has been used to record everything from the Arab Spring to the ongoing war in Ukraine. It's also captured our public conversations for years.

But experts are worried that if Elon Musk tanks the company, these rich seams of media and conversation could be lost forever. Given his admission to employees in a November 10 call that Twitter could face bankruptcy, it’s a real and present risk.

It’s not just OSINT researchers who are worried. US public agencies’ concern about the loss of their verified status highlights the fact that lots of official statements by governments and public bodies are now made on Twitter first. “There’s no indication that those formal records of government agencies have ever been archived, or indeed how they’d go about doing that,” says Kilbride.

Thomas doesn’t have a good solution to the problem, and as with much of Twitter at present, the outlook isn’t exactly rosy, she says. “We're going to lose such a lot of digital history if Twitter goes kaput without warning.”

A few things to consider. Is published "news" no longer considered a historical record? It's not like all of these world events happened, and were only recorded on Twitter. Another thing to consider, US public agencies release information on government web pages, and those are documented as a matter of law. Twitter is not "responsible" for a history of US government agency announcements.

However, the idea that some things could be lost might benefit some. Consider the man-made disasters that were perpetuated during the whole COVID-19 lockdown. I would be willing to bet that there are a lot of high profile people, who advocated for draconian lockdowns, and government overreach. They might want that to be forgotten. How convenient if Twitter "just happened to go down."

The only reason I say this, is because I have read a few articles claiming that Twitter is going to crash and soon. And it seems more likely than not -- by design.

Whether it’s manual RTs [Retweets] appearing for a moment before retweets slowly morph into their standard form, ghostly follower counts that race ahead of the number of people actually following you, or replies that simply refuse to load, small bugs are appearing at Twitter’s periphery. Even Twitter’s rules, which Musk linked to on November 7, went offline temporarily under the load of millions of eyeballs. In short, it’s becoming unreliable.

“Sometimes you’ll get notifications that are a little off,” says one engineer currently working at Twitter, who’s concerned about the way the platform is reacting after vast swathes of his colleagues who were previously employed to keep the site running smoothly were fired. (That last sentence is why the engineer has been granted anonymity to talk for this story.) After struggling with downtime during its “Fail Whale” days, Twitter eventually became lauded for its team of site reliability engineers, or SREs. Yet this team has been decimated in the aftermath of Musk’s takeover. “It’s small things, at the moment, but they do really add up as far as the perception of stability,” says the engineer.

It’s happening at the same time that the first cracks in Twitter’s edifice are starting to show. It’s just the beginning, expects Krueger. “I would expect to start seeing significant public-facing problems with the technology within six months,” he says. “And I feel like that’s a generous estimate.”

This sounds like a coordinated effort. It looks like "Job Security Programming." These engineers weren't trying to automate the tasks required to keep the site running smoothly, they were doing vast amounts of work manually -- on purpose. This granted them leverage over leadership throughout the company, and helped to maintain the status quo. While in and of itself that's not a "bad" thing, it does mean that the backbone for the system was shotty, and people were incentivized to not fix it.

Twitter was never maintained in a way that reflected much thought into the longevity of data storage. Without 3rd party tools, trying to find past posts was not exactly the easiest thing to do. There was little thought put into making searches a user friendly experience. Just the constant barrage of data.

If Twitter does crash, there stands to be a lot of people who will be enormously happy, because their past indiscretions will be wiped off the Internet, almost permanently. When screenshots of their Tweets are shown, they have plausible deniability. I think that the powers that be want Twitter to go down for two main reasons.

(1.) Perpetrators of lockdowns and vaccine mandates, want to make sure that the recorded history of their actions during the whole COVID-19 era are forgotten. Remember the stories about a COVID Amnesty? That's not liable to come, but erasing large swaths of online history sure would help.

(2.) Musk is turning Twitter into a more free space, and one that is, at least somewhat, less ideologically controlled. Twitter was great, for the left, because it was a tool for social engineering. Now that Twitter is not steered so "rightly" by those who consider themselves ideologically superior -- Twitter has to go! After all, there are far too many powerful people who want recent history to "go away" sooner rather than later.

I suspect that Twitter will have some kind of "massive outage" and be reborn as a new platform. Elon Musk has stated that he wants to make Twitter into a one stop shop for "everything." It's doubtful that Twitter could be easily adapted into Musk's "X" platform, it would make more sense to start over.

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