Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis officially entered the 2024 race for U.S. President today, and was expected to join outgoing Twitter CEO Elon Musk in a live Twitter Spaces conversation to celebrate. It did not go as planned—but perhaps it unfolded as expected for critics of the pair and the chaotic changes unfolding on the social network.
More than 560,000 users reportedly tuned into to the Twitter Spaces event, but many reported that their Twitter app was stalling and crashing. It took several minutes for speech to become intelligible, and even then, it was halting and echoed badly. Technical difficulties burned up close to 20 minutes.
So Ron DeSantis chose a glitchy audio-only format with an audience 1/20th the size of a Fox primetime show to just….read his stump speech?
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) May 24, 2023
“We’ve got so many people here that I think we are kind of melting the servers, which is a good sign,” host David Sacks said.
“Servers are straining somewhat,” Musk said after several minutes of silence and whispers. “We’re allocating more server capability to handle more load here, it’s really going crazy.”
The event was previously described as historic, insofar as DeSantis was expected to announce his run for president during the Twitter Spaces session. As it turns out, DeSantis’ first public statement was made via a pre-produced video released across social media about an hour earlier.
Sacks still said the session was making history, although fellow Republican candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. also took to Twitter Spaces to announce his campaign last month.
Crypto Twitter users who support DeSantis saw the situation as validation of the event’s massive popularity.
WELL, ELON BROKE THE INTERNET WITH 800K LOGINS!
— MetaMona.eth (@MetaMona_) May 24, 2023
But the vast majority of commentary declared the stunt a disaster—more than a few comparing it to the way many rocket launches have gone for Musk’s SpaceX.
Did the Elon/DeSantis launch experience a rapid unscheduled disassembly?
— Dan Shafer (@DanRShafer) May 24, 2023
Many joked that DeSantis should have chosen a more reliable platform.
Maybe Musk and DeSantis should have used Clubhouse.
— Ellen Chang 張 心 瑩 (@EllenYChang) May 24, 2023
President Joe Biden capitalized on the technical failures by tweeting a link to his campaign donation site, writing, “This link works.”
Meanwhile, political wonks suggested DeSantis’ primary opponent was delighted with how things went.
Free steaks at Mar-a-Lago tonight. The host is in a really good mood
— Bill Grueskin (@BGrueskin) May 24, 2023
Others pointed out that the technical difficulties don’t bode well for another high-profile right-wing personality that recently announced that his show would be hosted on Twitter.
The event did dominate news headlines, but probably not in the way DeSantis and Musk were hoping.
“DeSantis 2024 kickoff on Twitter plagued by technical issues,” observed the Washington Post. “DeSantis declares White House run in glitchy Twitter launch,” the BBC reported. Even Fox News, largely sympathetic to Republicans, declared, “Much-hyped Ron DeSantis presidential announcement a disaster on Twitter.”
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