Twitter misdetected the 2011 Build conference keynote as a denial-of-service attack

Raymond Chen

During the 2011 Microsoft Build conference keynote, the volume of messages was so high that Twitter went down.

Well, it went down in the convention center.

There was some frantic network troubleshooting going on to identify why nobody could access Twitter via the convention center wireless network. Eventually, somebody called Twitter technical support¹ to get some help with the problem, and they learned that Twitter blocked all traffic from the convention center because it looked like a denial-of-service attack.

“Nope, we just have a lot of excited developers.”

They got the ban lifted, and Twitter access came back for the remainder of the keynote.

I recall that some attendees complained that the wireless access during the keynote was terrible, though they didn’t name Twitter specifically. Well, now you know why. And it was partly your fault.

Bonus chatter: I assume that nowadays, Twitter keeps track of major events and knows to expect, say, a lot of activity at major music concerts, conventions, and sporting events.

¹ I had no idea that Twitter even had a technical support phone number.


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  • Nick Allmaker 0

    Ah, 2011. The halcyon days of people being excited about Windows 8

    • Brian Boorman 0

      Ah, 2011. Couldn’t they just SMS shortcode their Tweet back then?

  • pivotman319 0

    Is part of the outage attributed to the reveal of Microsoft’s then-upcoming Windows 8?

  • Daniel Findley 0

    Can you imagine the support tech’s reaction?

    MS: “Hi, this is Taylor from Microsoft”
    TW: “… yeah right!”

    • M. W. 0

      Tech-support scammers weren’t really a thing yet in 2011, so people wouldn’t have been so skeptical at the time. 🤷

  • M. W. 0

    * Twitter had a technical-support phone-number. Like apparently every company these days (*cough*YouTube*cough* ¬_¬), their official customer-support department is now, well, Twitter (and to a lesser extent, Facebook). 😒 But can you blame them when the White House’s Press Room was Twitter for four years? 🤦

  • Runliang Liu (WICRESOFT NORTH AMERICA LTD)Microsoft employee 0

    I installed Windows 8 Costumer Preview on a all in one pc with touchscreen when I was 12. That’s my earliest memory about prerelease version of Windows…

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