BuzzFeed News


A Twitter Employee Shut Down Trump's Account On Their Last Day Of Work

The president's personal account was abruptly taken offline for 11 minutes Thursday. Twitter says a customer support employee deactivated the account.

President Donald Trump's personal Twitter account @realDonaldTrump disappeared for several minutes Thursday evening after it was deactivated by a Twitter employee.


The account, which Trump has used since 2009 and has since become arguably the most important social media account in the world, was restored after 11 minutes.

After a huge amount of reaction to the deactivation on social media, Trump himself addressed it in an early morning tweet on Friday.

The White House did not respond to a BuzzFeed News request for comment.

Twitter initially said an employee "inadvertently" deactivated the account.


But a few hours later an investigation revealed that a customer service employee actually took down the account "on the employee's last day."

The suspension of Trump's account suggests Twitter employees have access to the company's most prominent accounts.

A former senior employee told BuzzFeed News that "a lot" of employees have the ability to suspend a user's account and that fewer, in the hundreds, can deactivate one. The former employee described the system like a dashboard, meaning employees might not need engineering skills to suspend or deactivate an account.

"It's one click if you have the rights to access the tool," the person said.

The source noted that Twitter was aware that its suspension permissions could be abused but did not change its protocol.

"There was discussion that for verified accounts or high profile ones, there'd be special protections (i.e. "2 keys") but it was never implemented," the person said.

A Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed News it did not have further comment on the rogue employee's actions

The account, while deactivated, wasn't suspended — that would result in a different error page.

Though the deactivation was just for a few moments, a lot of people (OK, journalists) freaked out.


After all, Trump's tweets are official White House statements.

It wouldn't have been the first time someone told Trump to delete his account.

And people wondered what would happen in the ~chaos~ of a presidency without Twitter.

(Of course, the official @POTUS Twitter account remained online. As well as Trump's Facebook and Instagram pages.)

But really:


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