Twitter is warning that the World Cup could lead to outages, after a week in which the site has been up and down like a soccer ball.
The fail whale has made regular appearances over the last week, as an internal network hit capacity. it had apparently put two critical, fast-growing, high-bandwith components on the same segment of the network. It's now improving monitoring, doubling capacity and rebalancing traffic.
But, says Twitter, the World Cup could put an unprecedented strain on the system.
"As more people turn to Twitter to see what's happening in the world (or in the World Cup), you may still see the whale when there are unprecedented spikes in traffic," says Jean-Paul Cozzatti, a Twitter engineer.
"We anticipate a significant surge in activity on Twitter. While we are making every effort to prepare for that surge, the whale may surface."
The company has created a special World Cup site.
"Using live widgets, real-time search, and Top Tweets (updates that are currently catching the attention of many Twitter users) we've put together a special site to capture the spirit of the World Cup and it's already pulsing with activity," says founder Biz Stone.
"Fans have a unique opportunity to connect with players, teams, and brands using Twitter to join the matches in a new way. We also are providing a list of suggested accounts to follow during the tournament and a World Cup theme for your profile page."