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.
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.
Claudia Koerner is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Claudia Koerner at email@example.com.
Charlie Warzel is a senior writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Warzel reports on and writes about the intersection of tech and culture.
Contact Charlie Warzel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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