Early on Christmas Eve, members of the billionaire’s staff flew to Sacramento — the site of one of Twitter’s three main computing storage facilities — to disconnect servers that had kept the social network running smoothly.
The company has stopped paying rent at its Seattle office, leading it to face eviction, two people familiar with the matter said. Janitorial and security services have been cut, and in some cases employees have resorted to bringing their own toilet paper to the office.
Speaking on a live forum on Twitter last week, Mr. Musk compared the company to a “plane that is headed towards the ground at high speed with the engines on fire and the controls don’t work.”
Those cuts may be yielding consequences. On Wednesday, users around the world reported service interruptions with Twitter. Some were logged out, while others encountered error messages while visiting the website. Twitter has not explained what caused the temporary outage. Three people familiar with the company’s infrastructure said that if the Sacramento facility had still been operating, it could have helped alleviate the problem by providing backup computing capacity when other data centers failed.
Mr. Musk has sought to save about $500 million in nonlabor costs, according to an internal document seen by The New York Times. He has also laid off or fired nearly 75 percent of the company’s work force since completing the purchase.
The shutdown of the Sacramento data center, known as SMF1, set off alarm bells at Twitter, with employees being summoned to work on Christmas Eve as internal systems went down, according to Slack messages viewed by The Times. While users did not experience any immediate disruptions to the social network, three people who used to work on the company’s infrastructure called Mr. Musk’s moves reckless, potentially leading to the loss of internal data and about 30 percent of the company’s computing power that could be needed in times of high site traffic.