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Twitter down: Links and images not working as users hit by ‘API error’ if they try to leave to other sites

Images and Tweetdeck also broken by problems with company’s systems

Andrew Griffin
Monday 06 March 2023 17:46 GMT
Twitter: Links not working as users hit by ‘API error’

Twitter has been hit by a major bug that means users are unable to leave to other websites or see images.

It is just the latest technical issue to hit Twitter, which conducted yet another round of layoffs in recent weeks – and saw another outage very shortly afterwards.

This time around, the site stayed up but users who clicked on links were instead shown a long error message indicating that there is a problem with Twitter’s API, the system that is used to communicate with other services.

It means that links shared on the site cannot be followed at all. Links also showed up as blank blocks of colour.

Tweetdeck, the company’s more specialised service for following tweets, also appeared to be broken as a result of the same problems. Users saw the app go entirely blank at the same time the links broke.

Twitter may have broken the service itself, after making major changes to its systems.

Twitter has been making changes to its API in recent weeks, apparently in an attempt to generate more money. The company announced recently that it would be largely cutting its free API support, effectively killing off third-party services that rely on it, such as third-party Twitter clients.

The company had promised that a new service would be “coming very soon” in a tweet posted on 26 February from its account focused on developers. It may be that the latest problems are the result of the long-awaited introduction of that new API.

Twitter had previously said that it had seen “an immense amount of enthusiasm for the upcoming changes with Twitter API”, but that it would be delaying its launch “for a few days”. In that announcement, posted on 13 February, it promised that there would be “more information to follow in the coming days”.

Four days later, it posted another update that said its “previous updates still stand”, though it was still unclear when it was planned to be introduced.

Twitter may have brought that API access to an end, without announcing the change – and in so doing broken all of its own systems that rely on access to that API.

Clicking on links on Twitter does not immediately take users to the URL that they have clicked on. Instead, they are first routed through Twitter’s servers, which then takes them to the link, so an outage at Twitter can break all outbound traffic from the site.

Twitter is yet to comment on the incident and has largely dissolved its PR team since new owner Elon Musk took over the company. Mr Musk did not immediately tweet about the problem – instead replying to a number of other users.

Some of those tweets to which Mr Musk replied included links. It is unclear whether he too was affected by the issue.

Shortly after, he posted that the issue would be fixed “shortly”.

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