Twitter Spaces crashes ahead of Florida’s DeSantis presidential run announcement

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SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter repeatedly crashed on Wednesday as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) was set to make his presidential announcement over Twitter Spaces with the site’s new owner Elon Musk.

More than 300,000 people tuned into the announcement, the app was struggling to load for some and crashing for others.

“We’ve got just a massive number of people online,” Elon Musk said. “So the servers are straining somewhat.”

DeSantis’ campaign appeared to drop off the call at one point.

Before the technical issues, the announcement was expected to serve as a significant coup for Musk and Twitter as it increasingly courts a right-wing audience. The event comes after high-profile conservatives have embraced Musk’s takeover and personalities such as fired Fox News host Tucker Carlson have said they would bring content exclusively to Twitter.

Musk acquired the site in October on a promise to restore his vision of “free speech,” following Twitter’s ban on former president Donald Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and other times he thinks the platform has censored speech or content.

Musk has repeatedly praised DeSantis, saying last fall he would support DeSantis in 2024.

“If DeSantis runs against Biden in 2024, then DeSantis will easily win – he doesn’t even need to campaign,” Musk said last July.

Musk declined this week to make a presidential endorsement, however, after he was asked about the matter at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit.

“I would really just like someone fairly normal and sensible to be president — that would be great,” he said, though he declined to assess the sensibility of the candidates in the race.

Musk’s position as owner and current CEO of Twitter put him in an unusual position to host a presidential announcement, given the traditional role of social media executives in refereeing political discussion on their platforms.

Despite his support for DeSantis, Musk wrote in November, “Twitter as a platform must be fair to all.”

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