Why Was Twitter Down? According to Twitter, It Was Because "Reason"

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
July 26 2012 1:04 PM

Why Was Twitter Down? According to Twitter, It Was Because "Reason"

twitter screengrab
Well, that clears things up!

Twitter screengrab

Twitter has crashed so many times in its young history that it's hardly news anymore when it happens. The site's "fail whale" notice, which usually appears when it's over capacity, has become an Internet icon. Today, though, the site went down around 11:48 eastern time and no fail whale went up. Instead, many visitors to the Twitter homepage were greeted by the image shown in the screenshot above—which, if anything, only raises the bar for amusing error messages. 

Adding to the fun is the Twitter status page, which acknowledges that "users may be experiencing issues accessing Twitter"—and then offers a "tweet" button to make it easy for you to share the news of Twitter's outage on Twitter. Good luck with that!

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For what it's worth, Twitter's press team doesn't seem to have any more information than the site itself. When I asked why it was down, a rep responded, "We're aware of the issue and are looking into it. Will let you know when we have an update. And keep an eye on status.twitter.com for updates as well." Oh, I am. And I'll also be holding Twitter to its commitment to have the site back up promptly in "deadline."

twitter status
Some 602 lucky tweeters have managed to tweet the news that Twitter isn't tweeting right now.

Screenshot

UPDATE: "Deadline" must have come and gone, because Twitter appears to be functioning properly again. No word yet on "reason," though.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.