Departing Twitter employee responsible for Trump account's brief disappearance

2017-11-03 06:08
(Twitter)

(Twitter)

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Washington - A Twitter employee on their last day with the firm was responsible for taking down Donald Trump's account, the firm said on Thursday, as the president resumed tweeting after the 11-minute outage.

Visitors to @realDonaldTrump at around 23:00 (GMT) were greeted with the message "Sorry, that page doesn't exist!"

Twitter initially said the account had been "inadvertently deactivated due to human error", but later indicated it was a prank by a departing worker.

"Through our investigation we have learned that this was done by a Twitter customer support employee who did this on the employee's last day," it said.

"We are conducting a full internal review," it said on the official Twitter Government account.

Many praised the temporary shutdown of Trump's account, with users saying the unnamed employee responsible "deserves a medal" and that "not all heroes wear capes".

'Tweetstorms'

The outspoken president has 41.7 million followers on his personal Twitter account, which he uses to blast controversial and attention-grabbing comments - often in the form of early morning "tweetstorms".

The outage ignited speculation over whether the account had been deliberately disabled by Twitter, but when normal service resumed the debate gave way to online mirth.

"Trump's Twitter deactivated for 11 min, and I suddenly thought I'd jumped back into the real timeline where things aren't so damned absurd," tweeted Star Trek actor turned social media personality George Takei.

But the temporary disappearance of the account – and the glee this prompted among the president's detractors – drew fire from others.

"Liberals were celebrating for the 15 minutes that Trump's Twitter disappeared, proving once again they love censorship and hate free speech," one popular tweet read.

Security concerns

Trump has even used the social media site to announce policy, and surprised Pentagon chiefs in July by tweeting that transgender people would be barred from serving "in any capacity" in the US military, a ban that has since been blocked by a US court.

The outage sparked discussion of the security of Trump's account, given the potentially dire consequences of messages falsely attributed to the president.

"It is shocking that some random Twitter employee could shut down the president's account. What if they instead had tweeted fake messages?" Blake Hounshell, the editor-in-chief of POLITICO Magazine, wrote on Twitter.

He added: "Seriously, what if this person had tweeted about a fictional nuclear strike on North Korea?"

Trump's official White House account, @POTUS, which has 20.9 million followers, was apparently not affected by the outage.

After the account was restored Trump did not tweet about the vanishing act, but made several posts on other topics. 

Read more on:    twitter  |  donald trump  |  us  |  politics  |  social media

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