Twitter Tight-Lipped As It Experiences Largest Crash To Date

Social media giant Twitter experienced outages on a global scale Tuesday, reportedly the company's largest service disruption to date.

The Twitter crash began around 3 a.m. Eastern time Tuesday, and Twitter acknowledged the technical issue nearly 20 minutes after problems were first reported, saying it was "working toward a resolution." As of 8:30 a.m., the company noted that issues were still occurring sporadically worldwide.

As of publication time, Twitter, which has an estimated 320 million active users, is remaining tight-lipped on what caused the service outages, or how many users were affected.

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If Twitter was relying on a carrier's network or cloud provider for hosting, that service provider would be obligated to tell its end customer -- Twitter, in this case -- why service was disrupted. But that disclosure doesn’t have to be passed down to end customers, said Andrew Gregoire, CEO of ACE Consulting Group, a Fairhaven, Mass.-based provider of consulting services for cloud, voice and IT management services.

"The problem is, you're never going to really find out why [Twitter] really went down, but as an end customer, I'd want to know why," Gregoire said.

Users on both Twitter's website and mobile apps, including TweetDeck and Hootsuite, were greeted with the message that something was wrong when the website failed to load. ’’Thanks for noticing," read the landing page. "We’re going to fix it up and have things back to normal soon.’

Some users were able to log into the site or associated apps, but reported that specific functions, such a search and direct messaging, weren't working.

Twitter was no stranger to connectivity problems in its early days as a startup. The company used to rely on Amazon Web Services for its data storage needs and cloud provider Joyent for hosting. But now that the company is considered the fourth largest social media site in the world, technical issues have been fewer and far between.

But technical issues can impact any company, regardless of size. The root cause behind everyday outages can be hard to nail down because there are often layers in between who is actually responsible for the issue, ACE's Gregoire said. Carriers like Verizon, for example, could be piggybacking off another service provider's network in some areas, he said.

"Still, I think carriers should be responsible for telling everyone, and should have some sort of social media feed that states why they went out -- especially if it affects that many people," Gregoire said.

If the issue is one of scalability problems, companies with millions of users such as Twitter have to evaluate its equipment if it does its own hosting, or the equipment of its carrier or vendor partners, to ensure it is able to support the amount of bandwidth its services require, he said.

The outages prompted a new hashtag on both Twitter and Facebook that began trending immediately in the U.S. Tuesday morning from both agitated consumers and business users of the social media site, #Twitterdown.