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3 Nov 2017

How Trump Twitter account shut down by employee

A Twitter employee deactivated Donald Trump’s personal account on their last day of work, the company said on Thursday, likely meaning the action was deliberate.
The move by the employee – who has not been named – meant that the president’s @realdonaldtrump account was down for 11 minutes.

During the brief period of downtime, shortly before 4pm Pacific time (11pm GMT), anyone going to the @realDonaldTrump Twitter page would see the message “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!”

After widespread speculation about what had happened, Twitter initially said the account had been 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,” the company said in a statement.

But soon after the company’s @Twittergov account posted another statement revealing the outage was due to an employee’s action on their final day in the job .

“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 new statement said.

The company did not immediately reply to Guardian requests to clarify the process.

Trump tweeted about the incident on Friday morning, hailing it as vindication that his tweeting was “having an impact”:

There have been continuing calls for Twitter to suspend Trump’s account, particularly when he made threats to North Korea. However, when Twitter does this it typically marks the profile with the message “account suspended”.

Before Twitter’s statement, some speculated that Trump himself may have deactivated his account or he may have been hacked. He has been criticized in the past for having poor security standards, continuing to use an old, unsecured Android phone when he moved into the White House instead of trading it for a secure, encrypted device approved by the Secret Service.

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