Twitter has acknowledged that its micro-blogging service has experienced difficulties on Thursday after millions of Twitter users suddenly saw their timelines go quiet.

While Twitter, the website, and the third-party applications stayed up during the fault, users' timelines, where they see other people's comments and thoughts went "stale".

"We are currently investigating a problem causing many users’ timelines to be delayed. We will update with status here shortly," the company said in a status update before later adding "Timelines remain stale for users. We are deploying fixes to address the problem."

The news comes as the site is rumoured to be about to sign a major search deal with Microsoft to provide search data for the company's Bing search engine.

All Things D reports: "According to sources familiar with the situation - Twitter is in advanced talks with Microsoft and Google separately about striking data-mining deals, in which the companies would license a full feed from the micro-blogging service that could then be integrated into the results of their competing search engines".

Microsoft's Bing already encompasses some Twitter content in its results while Google recently announced Hot Trends that offers real-time results for popular search terms, so it's a little unclear at this stage what the talks may result in.

Either way, for now the world of Twitter seems deadly silent.