Rogue Employee Deactivates President Trump’s Twitter Account on Last Day of Work

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Nov 3, 2017
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Apparently Twitter gives some of its employees a little too much power. On their last day at the company, a Twitter employee deactivated President Donald Trump’s personal account. The company at first had said that it was a “human error.”

“Earlier today @realdonaldtrump’s account was inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee. The account was down for 11 minutes, and has since been restored. We are continuing to investigate and are taking steps to prevent this from happening again.”

However, in its second statement, Twitter said its internal investigation has revealed that it was done by an employee – who remains unnamed – on their last day at work, indicating that it was a deliberate action. “We are conducting a full internal review,” the company wrote.

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“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. We are conducting a full internal review.”

During the 11 minutes when the Twitter account of one of the world’s two most Twitter-attached leaders was down, anyone going to the account saw the message “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!” sparking curiosity that the President may have finally given up on the site. The account was down around 7pm eastern.

President Trump, once back, tweeted that the “word must finally be getting out…”

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Twitter, of course, wasn’t silent either with some users calling it censorship to others calling for a promotion of the “rogue” employee.

Raises questions over how things work over at Twitter HQ

The episode has also raised concerns about the company giving those in customer support a little too many powers as just one employee was able to remove an account out of vindication or amusement. For years, activists have called on to the company for not being responsive enough when an account is reported to the company for legitimate reasons. Not to forget Twitter’s lack of control over automated accounts – a category where its efforts continue to fail.

While the company’s first statement of it being a human error wouldn’t have caused any raised eyebrows, its second clarification actually demands further explanation. Why was the employee given special access to accounts; does everyone in customer support has this access; how does the company ensure if those who do have such an access don’t use it remove accounts of people they have personal grudges with; does it do nothing to further protect high profile accounts; can this access be used by Twitter support staff to make false tweets?

These and so many more questions are being asked as Twitter, that’s already facing a number of questions from lawmakers, has just received another list of concerns to respond to.

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