According to Twitter, and the New York Times, the service experienced some “technical difficulties.” According to the Times:
The company said it was not clear what had caused the problems, which began around 3 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and prevented many users from sharing updates on their smartphones, computers and other mobile devices. As of about 8:30 a.m., the company said the disruptions were still occurring sporadically worldwide.
Twitter declined to specify how many of its users were affected, or what had caused the disruptions — saying only that it was “working towards a resolution.”
Although the disruptions were among the most extensive the company has yet encountered, Twitter is not the only popular social network to have faced technical problems. Facebook, whose users now number more than 1.5 billion worldwide, has also had a spate of shutdowns over the last 18 months, though often the problems have been corrected within hours.
Because Twitter is an important news source, as well as a popular sounding board, the shutdowns were a significant disruption in the global conversation. When other technology and media companies have faced similar problems in the past, people have often turned to Twitter to vent their frustrations — an outlet unavailable this time because the platform itself was the cause of the problem.
When the site began working again, the hashtag #TwitterDown started to trend. When Twitter goes down, what do you use to as a source of news, entertainment, or conversation?