Writing on the company blog Thursday night, Twitter's vice president of engineering, Mazen Rawashdeh, said engineers found a cascading bug in one of Twitter's infrastructure components.
A "cascading bug" is one with an effect that isn't confined to a particular software element, Rawashdeh said. Instead, he said, its effect "cascades" into other elements as well.
"One of the characteristics of such a bug is that it can have a significant impact on all users, worldwide, which was the case today."
Twitter crashed around 12 noon EDT Thursday, affecting both third-party and Twitter apps on the Android and iOS platforms.
As soon as crash was discovered, Rawashdeh said, the company took corrective actions, including a switch to a previous stable version of Twitter.
The company was conducting a review to ensure such a chain of events could be avoided in the future, Rawashdeh said.