Though the social networking site is known for its frequent, inconvenient crashes, this latest service disruption was the longest reported in at least several months. The crash was so hard the site did not load its ‘Fail Whale' icon, simply timing out and failing to load timelines instead.
A hacker from the Lulzsec-affiliated UGNazi group going by the name of Cosmo initially took credit for the outage, claiming that she had initiated a DDoS attack on the site. "It wasn't really difficult at all, I myself honestly thought Twitter would be more protected from a DDoS Attack, but I guess not," she said, according to the Telegraph.
"We just#TangoDown'd http://twitter.com for 40 minutes worldwide! #UGNazi," the group tweeted.
Twitter has since denied the outage was caused by a hack or other malicious activity, saying it was actually the result of a "cascading bug."
"A ‘cascading bug' is a bug with an effect that isn't confined to a particular software element, but rather its effect ‘cascades' into other elements as well. One of the characteristics of such a bug is that it can have a significant impact on all users, worldwide, which was the case today," explained engineering vice president Mazen Rawashdeh in a blog post.
Rawashdeh went on to boast about Twitter's improved stability and reliability, which he claims has been up to 99.9 per cent over the past six months.