Trump’s Twitter account taken down by rogue employee

A search for Trump's Twitter handle led to an empty page

By Bethan Staton, News Reporter

Donald Trump's Twitter account was deactivated by a company employee and was down for 11 minutes before it was restored, Twitter said.

Twitter blamed a customer-support employee "who did this on the employee's last day".

The internet was seized by a brief spell of panic just before 11pm on Thursday, when the US President's account disappeared suddenly and without explanation.

Mr Trump has 41.7 million followers on Twitter and makes extensive use of it for everything from promoting his policies to attacking his opponents.

While the account was down, a search for @realDonaldTrump returned only a blue background and the line "sorry that page does not exist".

One of the best moments over the past 9 months. Trump’s twitter shut down briefly by a twitter employee on their last day. Hero.

— Mohamed Hemish (@MohamedHemish) 3 November 2017

The sight sent those who witnessed it into a frenzy of disbelief. Many were overjoyed at the disappearance of one of the platform's most powerful and prolific accounts; others furious at the deactivation.

@jack I need to very seriously tell you that the 70 seconds that Trump's twitter account went away were the happiest 70 seconds of my year.

— Cabel Sasser (@cabel) 2 November 2017

Those few precious minutes were like when Andy played the opera record over the Shawshank PA system.

— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) 2 November 2017

Those seeking an explanation suggested the account had been hacked, or perhaps even suspended by Twitter.

But before long the President's account returned, without fanfare and as mysteriously it had disappeared.

Twitter quickly responded to the incident, tweeting at first that the account had been inadvertently deactivated due to human error and was being investigated.

Its explanation was soon changed, however, with a second tweet announcing the deactivation had been carried out "by a Twitter customer-support employee who did this on the employee's last day".

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.

— Twitter Government (@TwitterGov) 3 November 2017

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.

— Twitter Government (@TwitterGov) 3 November 2017

Many users responded with glee to the news, praising the unknown former employee as a hero.

Folk hero. Songs should be written about this person.

— Shannon Coulter (@shannoncoulter) 3 November 2017

Others, however, judged the deletion an affront to the principles of free speech, or expressed concern that a customer-service employee was apparently able to delete whole accounts at their whim.

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 (@blakehounshell) 3 November 2017

As the rest of the world struggled to come to terms with the brief absence and swift return of his account, however, Mr Trump seamlessly returned to his usual Twitter form.

In the hours following his short departure The President tweeted zealously about a tax cut roll out, alleged violations of campaign finance laws and James Comey's leadership, as well as promoting an interview with Fox News.

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