Nov. 2 will forever be known as the day @realDonaldTrump did not “exist” on Twitter for 11 minutes.
Twitter — which has faced many calls to ban the president from its platform — at first said the takedown was inadvertent and caused by human error. Then the San Francisco company said a customer-support employee whose last day was Thursday was responsible for deactivating the president’s account, immediately elevating that person’s status to legendary — at least on the Twittersphere and among those who don’t believe in governing by tweet.
Make him CEO!!! This employee will go down in history as making America great for 11 min.
— Javier Celis (@kriddler360) November 3, 2017
And a freaking medal.
— Flashygrrl (@Flashygrrl82) November 3, 2017
Human triumph not error.
— Karen J (@karenju1955) November 3, 2017
But short-lived jubilation — there was some outrage, too — aside, the deactivation of an account as high-profile and closely watched as President Trump’s by an employee is raising serious questions: What kind of safeguards does the San Francisco company have in place? How many people at Twitter have this power?
And could a rogue Twitter employee have tweeted on behalf of the president and said something wacky and dangerous — or perhaps something that’s against the company’s terms of service? (Say, threatening nuclear war or promoting violence against the media and a former political opponent?)
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A Twitter spokeswoman has not returned SiliconBeat’s request for comment Friday, although Thursday she did point us to @TwitterGov’s explanation about what happened, and its assurance that it’s looking into it.
For Trump, the interesting question is: What if his account had been inaccessible for more than 11 minutes? After all, Twitter is his preferred method of communication because he has said it allows him to directly reach his constituents. He has Facebook and Instagram accounts, and on Twitter he has the @POTUS account. But his personal account, which has twice as many followers (41.8 million), is what he rode all the way to the White House and is said to be the social media account he controls directly.
But it’s a new day, and like it or not — and plenty of polls have indicated that many Americans don’t — the president is again tweeting away, and he of course had something to say about the fact that @realDonaldTrump was briefly deactivated.
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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2017
Then it was business as usual as he went on to rail against Democrats, Hillary Clinton and the usual suspects — misspellings, random capitalization and all.
Photo: President Donald Trump during a Cabinet meeting on June 12, 2017, at the White House in Washington. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
Tags: Donald Trump, twitter