Newsdeck

Outgoing Twitter worker responsible for Trump account outage

By AFP 3 November 2017

A Twitter employee on their last day with the company was responsible for taking down Donald Trump's account for 11 minutes, the social network said, an event that didn't draw comment from the tweet-prone president until Friday.

Visitors to @realDonaldTrump around 7:00 pm (2300 GMT) on Thursday 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 done intentionally by a departing worker.

Trump did not react on Twitter to the temporary removal of his account until nearly 12 hours later.

“My Twitter account was taken down for 11 minutes by a rogue employee. I guess the word must finally be getting out-and having an impact,” he tweeted.

The outspoken president has 41.7 million followers on his personal Twitter account, which he uses to blast controversial and attention-grabbing comments.

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

“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,” the social media company said on the official Twitter Government account.

“We are conducting a full internal review,” it added.

Trump has used the social media site to announce policy. He 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.

– Security concerns -“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?”

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.”

“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.

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 until early Friday, but wrote several posts on other topics. DM

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