A Twitter employee “deliberately” deactivated the personal account of US President Donald Trump on their last day of work, the company said on Thursday, raising serious concerns about the security of tweets the president wields to set major policy agendas, connect with his voter base and lash out at his adversaries.
It is understood that Trump’s account was shut down at around 6:45 p.m. ET Thursday.
During the brief period of downtime, anyone going to the @realDonaldTrump Twitter page would see the message “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!”
The move by the employee – who has not been named – meant that the president’s @realdonaldtrump account was down for 11 minutes.
Moments after the account was restored, Twitter posted a statement saying the president’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,” the statement read.
“We are continuing to investigate and are taking steps to prevent this from happening again.”
However, two hours later, the company admitted that the deactivation wasn’t an accident at all: A preliminary investigation revealed that the account was taken offline “by a Twitter customer support employee who did this on the employee’s last day.”
Twitter said it was conducting a full internal review.
“A lot” of employees at Twitter can suspend a user’s account, a former employee of the company told BuzzFeed.
But far fewer — only hundreds — have the power to deactivate one, the unnamed source added.