Twitter Employee Deactivates Trump’s Account before Leaving

Chloe Brett November 03, 2017
Twitter Employee Deactivates Trump’s Account before Leaving

U.S. President Donald Trump's Twitter account was deactivated by an employee from Twitter who was leaving the company on Thursday.

Trump’s personal Twitter account went down abruptly for about 11 minutes Thursday evening, a brief deactivation the social media company blamed on an employee who was heading out the door.

Attempts to call up Trump’s personal page, @realDonaldTrump, turned up a message saying, "Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!", prompting many Twitter users to send out screenshots. Within minutes, the account was once again available. The official feed for the U.S. president, @POTUS, wasn’t affected.

“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,” the company tweeted, after citing inadvertent “human error” in an earlier post.

Trump has 41.7 million followers on Twitter and has made extensive use of it to send messages attacking his opponents and promoting his policies, both during the 2016 presidential campaign and since taking office in January.

Twitter, in particular, has long faced criticism for not doing enough to police its platform and respond to complaints of abuse. The temporary deletion of the Trump account sparked a flood of criticism on Twitter itself.

Twitter has erroneously frozen accounts in the past. In 2016, Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey was locked out of his own for a few minutes. Dorsey said in a tweet that the suspension was “an internal mistake.”

Users can also deactivate their own accounts. Once someone chooses to do so, Twitter retains that data for 30 days, after which it begins the process of deleting the information. An account can be reactivated during that period simply by logging in.

Twitter has come under fire from critics who say the company should banish Trump for violating its terms of service.

The U.S. president often uses Twitter to disseminate his thinking, sometimes making disparaging remarks. Twitter’s rules let the company suspend accounts for violent threats, gender-based attacks and other forms of abuse and harassment.


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Chloe Brett

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