DeSantis' campaign launch on Twitter with Elon Musk off to a disastrous start as the site repeatedly crashes

  • Ron DeSantis is expected to announce his 2024 campaign on Twitter Spaces.

  • It's the first time a candidate plans to launch a presidential campaign during a live stream on the social media app.

  • But the forum was off to a rough start with crashes, silence, and robot music.

Gov. Ron DeSantis' planned launch for his 2024 presidential bid on Twitter was delayed by almost 30 minutes on Wednesday after the site crashed.

The Florida governor was expected to officially launch his campaign at 6 p.m. EST during an audio-only live forum known as Twitter Spaces, alongside Twitter CEO Elon Musk and entrepreneur David Sacks. Making that choice was unusual — many candidates do public events or interviews with cable news outlets.

But the social media app appeared to be having technical difficulties handling nearly 500,000 listeners as the discussion kicked off.

The forum either crashed or would allow listeners to join in without any audio.

Sacks at one point started speaking into the microphone, calling the event "historic" and "a first in the history of social media" before the sound dropped.

A screenshot of Twitter Spaces.
A screenshot of Twitter Spaces.Insider

At one point a voice could be heard saying, "Now it's quiet."

"We've got so many people here that I think we are kind of melting the servers," Sacks said, when more than 100,000 people had joined. Other streaming services, such as Clubhouse, have had more listeners without crashing.

"Very excited to have Gov. DeSantis," Musk said before the live feed glitched again and the Spaces ended.

Around 6:30 p.m., the audio turned back on and DeSantis was able to announce that he was running for president and answer questions on issues from his feud with Walt Disney World to reforms on federal agencies.

Sacks apologized to DeSantis for the technical difficulties, and asked him why he chose to make the announcement over Twitter instead of on cable television. 

The governor said that he wanted to "cut against the grain" instead of "going with the crowd," then turned the conversation to how he bucked federal health officials during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conversation quickly turned to deriding traditional news outlets, with Musk calling journalists an "elite cabal."

"Candidates for president can just speak directly to people through Twitter," Sacks said.

Some political operators were surprised that DeSantis chose not to hold his first interview with Fox News, who otherwise got numerous other details about the campaign first, including the campaign video launch and the fact that the Twitter Spaces conversation was taking place. 

Ever since his time serving in the US House, starting in 2013, DeSantis has had a collaborative relationship with the network. That continued into his governorship.

Twitter is set to stream a new show from Tucker Carlson, a political commentator abruptly ousted from Fox News.

"Glitchy. Tech issues. Uncomfortable silences. A complete failure to launch," a Trump spokesperson told Insider. "And that's just the candidate!"

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