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DeSantis, Musk hurt by Twitter space glitches

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at a conference called Celebrate the Face of Israel, Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem, April 27, 2023.

Maya Alleruzo | AFP | Getty Images

Florida Govt. Ron DeSantis’s presidential campaign announcement plans were derailed on Wednesday evening by a massive technical glitch on Twitter that temporarily prevented him from announcing his candidacy.

“The servers are under some stress,” Twitter owner Elon Musk was heard saying on the app’s live audio stream, where he and DeSantis were to have a conversation that included the first oral announcement of the governor’s White House bid.

Musk’s comments came amid crashes, feedback glitches and audio failures that prevented the conversation on Twitter’s Spaces feature from starting for about 25 minutes past its scheduled 6 p.m. ET start time.

Musk and investor David Sachs, associates of both men, started a new Twitter Spaces webcast after the original failed. But technical issues cropped up in that stream as well, including among DeSantis’ comments.

DeSantis had filed federal paperwork earlier in the day, officially putting him in the running for the Republican presidential nomination. His campaign also released a video in which DeSantis says, “I am running for president to lead our great American comeback.”

But what attracted the most attention was DeSantis’ unorthodox decision to make the big announcement on the audio-only Twitter tool.

The canceled first Spaces event enlisted over half a million listeners before being dropped entirely.

When he was finally able to speak without interruption, DeSantis began by echoing some of the comments made by his campaign in a pre-recorded video released shortly before.

DeSantis said on Twitter, “Well, I’m running for President of the United States to lead our great American comeback.” He touched on issues including crime and economic anxiety and slammed President Joe Biden for his lack of “emphasis” and taking “signs from the woke crowd.”

The botched event came as Musk pushed for a boost to Twitter’s revenue. Earlier this month, he hired former NBCUniversal advertising head Linda Yacarino to replace him as CEO of the social media platform. Musk bought Twitter in October for $44 billion. He has since cut about 80% of the company’s workforce.

after the event, Musk tweeted: “Welcome all presidential candidates to this stage.”

A DeSantis campaign official tried to positively spin the sputtering incident, telling NBC News, “Governor DeSantis broke the internet — everything you need to know about the strength of his candidacy.” …!”

But DeSantis’ critics and his top political opponents balked at the messy celebration.

“His collar is too big!” Trump wrote on his Twitter-like social platform Truth Social.

Meanwhile, Biden’s official Twitter account used the occasion to ask for contributions to his re-election campaign.

“This link works,” tweeted Biden, along with a URL linked to his ActBlue donation page.

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