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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.

Originally posted on
Updated on

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.

Today, it was my pleasure and great honor to announce my nomination of Jerome Powell to be the next Chairman of the… https://t.co/32kLFYbbuq

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

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.

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

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

Earlier today @realdonaldtrump’s account was inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee. Th… https://t.co/hNtJeihD0t

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

Through our investigation we have learned that this was done by a Twitter customer support employee who did this on… https://t.co/19oVsYAN2t

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.

When an account is suspended or permabanned, you’ll get a redirect + message. This is what you see when you try to… https://t.co/jVLxA7Qmjl

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

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I'm not usually a person who covers the president's tweets. But. Um.

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.

Delete your account. https://t.co/Oa92sncRQY

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

This really did happen. For about 120 seconds, @VP's twitter was president.

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

While Trump’s Twitter account was down, I stole every piece of china from the White House China Room.

But really:

we should all just delete our accounts tbh

Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Claudia Koerner at claudia.koerner@buzzfeed.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 charlie.warzel@buzzfeed.com.

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