Twitter went down for roughly a half hour today just ahead of the 4:00pm eastern time start period for NFL free agency, wreaking havoc on those sports analysts attempting to beat each other to the punch on being the first to report new signings. While the outage likely didn’t impact the actual free agent signing process, those attempting to use the social network to follow the ramp to the signing frenzy expressed displeasure at the timing of the outage.
The outage appeared to impact reporting on the signing of linebacker Karlos Dansby in particular; several reporters from ESPN and other news outlets posted reports of his multi-year deal with the Cleveland Browns, but due to the outage it was difficult to determine which reporter in particular was the first to break the news before the Browns ultimately announced the deal.
The official explanation posted by Twitter itself was that “unexpected complications” resulted from a “planned deploy in one of our core services” which turned what should have been an instant changeover into a prolonged outage. The social network once known nearly as much for its frequent outages as its terse 140 character limit, but over the past three years has become far more stable than in its earlier days in which a single tweet by one of its more popular users could bring the entire network to a temporary halt.
Twitter was at one time considered the leading social network but has lost relative mainstream popularity to Facebook. Still, Twitter still excels in allowing for the near-immediate spread of breaking news, whether it be a world event such as the Iranian revolution of 2009 or today’s annual NFL free agency launch. By the time the 4:00pm kickoff arrived, Twitter appeared to be back at full functionality for most or all users. Twitter has since stated that service has “fully recovered.”