Basketball star Kobe Bryant smashed a lot of expectations during his final game with the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night, but nobody predicted he might crash Twitter.
That was a safe bet, too. A source tells TheWrap traffic didn’t cause the disruptions on Twitter.
In the midst of rabid attention during Bryant’s last game, the official Lakers Twitter account disappeared, all while the social network’s users widely experienced other disruptions.
Around 9 p.m. PT, the team’s alternate account @LakersDigital said the main feed @Lakers was temporarily down. “We will continue to tweet Kobe Bryant’s final game from this account,” the auxiliary account tweeted.
When the main feed was restored, the Lakers said Twitter couldn’t handle the overload spurred by Bryant.
Sorry about that, everybody. Kobe got too hot for the Twitter servers.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 14, 2016
On its support account, Twitter said simply that some people were experiencing problems, but that the issues were resolved about two hours later.
The issue has now been resolved, thank you for your patience. https://t.co/SdU8w4qCbU
— Twitter Support (@Support) April 14, 2016
However, a person familiar with the matter told TheWrap that Wednesday night’s outage wasn’t caused by external traffic.
Disruptions on Twitter date back to the platform’s early years, when the social network’s technological resources struggled to keep pace with its ballooning popularity. The frequency of outages, which were typically accompanied by an error graphic of a white whale caught in a net held aloft by tiny birds, led to its own Internet meme: Fail Whale.
Short, localized outages are common, not only for Twitter, but also other social networks and popular websites. Extended disruptions that last longer than an hour, however, are rare.