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Elon Musk: I will do the code review myself with the remaining Twitter developers

On 19 November, the media (1, 2) reported that key developers, including part of the Twitter Command Center team responsible for load testing and supporting the platform in peak situations of particularly high user activity, had left Twitter after refusing to switch to hardcore mode. Musk parried the media claims with the publication of a photo of him working directly with the engineers.

Musk gave all Twitter employees 24 hours to decide whether to switch to the new "hardcore" mode

Media sources insist that keeping Twitter up and running will soon be a challenge. Many teams have quit completely and the company is facing a shortage of engineers. The problem is particularly acute with developers on the infrastructure support team, which runs the core product services and maintains the project's databases.

Media sources explained that at least 1,200 full-time employees left Twitter on November 18. including the departure of several developers from twenty full-time Twitter Command Center engineers. According to media sources, the core services team, which deals with the computational architecture, was reduced to four people out of more than 100 employees. "80% of those who remained after the initial cuts at Twitter have left," said senior software engineer Peter Close, who also quit. He explained that 3 engineers out of 75 remained in one of the main technical development departments at the company.

Experts believe Musk will have to close some of Twitter's data centres

Experts believe Musk will have to close some of Twitter's data centres. "Musk is considering closing one of Twitter's three main data centres in the US. Shutting down the centre in Sacramento will leave the company with two data centres in Atlanta and Portland, which will reduce the backup computing capacity needed in case something fails," sources from the company's remaining employees explained to the media.

"It's a grim picture. The amount of knowledge lost is staggering," former company engineer Glenn Hope told the media. He doesn't think Twitter will suddenly collapse, but problems are about to start there.

Experts and former employees of the platform added that "Twitter is a system with more than 1,000 microservices that require constant configuration and maintenance, and if errors are not corrected in time, they will grow into a threat to security and user data".

Twitter is a system with more than 1,000 microservices

Former Twitter software engineer Alec Muffet thinks that Twitter's network security will eventually start to malfunction without proper support, which will lead to the loss of some services, for example, the social network's website will not work or mobile applications will start to fail.

Currently, according to the status of Twitter's services, there are no critical problems on the platform.

Currently, according to the status of Twitter's services, there are no critical problems on the platform.

Musk has responded to media reports of the current acute problems with developers on Twitter by publishing that he himself is personally conducting a late-night code review with engineers at the company's headquarters. The photo below shows contented and happy Twitter 2.0 developers, who have agreed to work hard, continue to support the platform's services and communicate directly with Musk, explaining the problems and their ideas to him.

Elon Musk with Twitter staff on 28 October, when there were considerably more staff

For comparison, here is a photo of Elon Musk with Twitter staff on 28 October, when there were considerably more staff.

Media sources confirmed an emergency meeting of developers at headquarters, where some staff flew in personally from other offices to meet with Musk. At the event, Musk and the engineers tried to understand Twitter's software framework and how the platform works. Each developer at the meeting showed and explained to Musk their most important pieces of code implemented or prepared for the social network's services over the past six months.

Elon Musk email for employees

From: Elon Musk
To: Team
Subj. All Software Engineers
Date: Nov. 18, 2022 [time stamp removed]

Anyone who actually writes software, please report to the 10th floor at 2 p.m. today.

Before doing so, please email me a bullet point summary of what your code commits have achieved in the past 6 months, along with up to 10 screenshots of the most salient lines of code.

Thanks,
Elon

From: Elon Musk
To: Team
Subj. All Software Engineers
Date: Nov. 18, 2022 [time stamp removed]

If you're working remotely, please email the request below nonetheless and I will try to speak to you via video. Only those who cannot physically get to Twitter HQ or have a family emergency are excused.

These will be short, technical interviews that allow me to better understand the Twitter tech stack.

Thanks,
Elon

From: Elon Musk
To: Team at Twitter
Subj. All Software Engineers
Date: Nov. 18, 2022 [time stamp removed]

If possible, I would appreciate it if you could fly to SF to be present in person. I will be at Twitter HQ until midnight and then back again tomorrow morning.

Thanks,
Elon

On November 17, the media reported that after the first wave of layoffs 3,500 employees out of 7,500 remained at Twitter, after Musk's ultimatum to press "Yes" to participate in the "hardcore" Twitter 2.0 project only 2,000 to 2,500 employees agreed from the remaining staff.

According to the Washington Post, key teams responsible for critical systems and stability of the platform's services were left without engineers. Developers responsible for traffic analysis and the frontend have left. Verge sources revealed that the full team that maintains key system libraries used by all developers within the company has left, and without it Twitter won't be able to function as fully as it used to. Twitter has left some of the engineers who provided 24/7 tech support to internal departments, as well as some of the teams who fixed bugs and prevented a complete shutdown of services in the event of a cloud failure.

Employees of the platform told the media that the company has departments that do not have enough staff to keep the social network running for long periods of time. Recent layoffs and staff departures have left two, one or even zero engineers in many of the platform's critical systems.

"I know of six critical systems, such as checking the publication of user tweets on the site, that no longer have engineers. They no longer have even a minimal crew in their management. This system will keep moving on inertia until it comes across something serious that is not cleaned up because no one is there to defend it, and then it stops," one Twitter employee explained to the media.

"The best ones are left, so I'm not really worried," Musk said at the time.

On 16 November, Musk gave all Twitter employees 24 hours to decide whether to switch to the new "hardcore" mode and not complain or leave the company with severance pay. Musk explained in a letter to employees that in order to create Twitter 2.0, the company must be extremely hardcore now. "This means long hours of high-intensity work. Only everyone's exceptional performance will be considered a passing grade," the company head warned employees.

Musk explained that the new Twitter will be geared more towards developers and engineers. And those who write "great code" will have the most influence within the company. "If you're sure you want to be part of the new Twitter, click 'Yes' on the link below… Whatever decision you make, thank you for your efforts to make Twitter a success," Musk summed up.

Earlier in November 2022

On 15 November, Musk manually sacked a developer of Twitter's Android app with six years of experience at the company over criticism from management. The engineer openly defended his team and workings to Musk, and explained why there were problems with the mobile app and that Musk didn't quite get the situation right. According to Platformer, Twitter has since fired about 20 other developers when they criticised Musk's current proactive actions in internal correspondence on Slack.

On November 14, Musk announced that the social network would finally stop adding under each tweet which device the post was written on, as it was a waste of screen space and computing resources. Musk explained that none of the remaining employees at Twitter even know why the company has done such a thing. Musk also said that Twitter will start shutting down other unnecessary microservices. According to him, in its current state the platform needs less than 20% of all the services launched before to be fully functional.

On 5 November, Musk fired half of Twitter's 7,500 employees. After this event, Jack Dorsey, the creator of the short messaging service and twice former Twitter CEO, claimed responsibility for the massive layoffs at the company by Musk. According to Dorsey, he was responsible for "the too rapid growth of Twitter's staff".

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