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Twitter engineering chief quits after DeSantis launch failure

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  • By Peter Hoskins and Annabelle Liang
  • Business reporters

image source, Getty Images

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DeSantis’ long-awaited entry into the race for the White House in 2024 was hit by technical glitches.

A Twitter engineering chief says he is leaving the company a day after the launch of Ron DeSantis’ US presidential campaign on the platform was hit by technical glitches.

Foad Dabiri tweeted: “After nearly four incredible years on Twitter, I decided to leave the nest yesterday.”

DeSantis’ entry into the race for the White House was hit by problems when a Twitter live stream malfunctioned.

More than 80% of the company’s workforce has been cut since Mr Musk bought it.

Sir. Dabiri, who was engineering lead for Twitter’s growth organization, said in a tweet that he had “experienced two distinct eras” at the company before and after it was acquired by the multibillionaire last year.

In another postDabiri said the transition to Twitter’s “2.0” was “massive and fast”.

He added: “To say it was challenging at first would be an understatement.”

Sir. Dabiri did not specify why he decided to leave Twitter and whether it was related to the issues with the DeSantis event on the platform.

He did not immediately respond to a BBC request for comment. Twitter did not provide a statement on Mr Dabiri’s exit when contacted by the BBC.

But Mr Dabiri said: “Working with @elonmusk has been very educational and it’s been enlightening to see how his principles and vision are shaping the future of this company.”

By the time Twitter chatter began in earnest on Wednesday night, hundreds of thousands of Twitter users had left the platform.

The Florida governor is considered former President Donald Trump’s main rival to become their party’s nominee in the 2024 general election.

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Watch: Listen to DeSantis’ failed Twitter stream

Musk, who also runs carmaker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX, bought Twitter for $44bn (£35.4bn) in October.

Speaking to the BBC last month, he said it had not been easy to cut the workforce from just under 8,000 people at the time he bought the company to around 1,500.

Since Mr Musk took the reins at Twitter, he has laid off thousands of staff, including engineers responsible for the site’s operations and technical troubleshooting.

Sir. DeSantis’ team quickly worked to iron out the technical snags, writing on Twitter that the announcement had broken “the internet with so much excitement” and posting a link to the campaign’s website.

His press secretary Bryan Griffin claimed that online event had raised $1 million in an hour.

At one point, the Twitter event drew more than 600,000 listeners, according to figures from the Reuters news agency, but by its conclusion there were fewer than 300,000.

As the live stream began, Mr DeSantis turned the conversation to his conservative credentials and touted his handling of the Covid-19 crisis in his state – an anti-lockdown approach applauded by many Republicans.

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