Twitter is under fire after an employee on his last day took down President Donald Trump’s account for 11 minutes Thursday, CNN reports.
“Earlier today @realdonaldtrump’s account was inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee,” Twitter said in a statement. “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.”
“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,” the company explained.
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. https://t.co/mlarOgiaRF
— Twitter Government (@TwitterGov) November 3, 2017
That’s led many to question whether the company has adequate protocols.
“This is a case of human negligence and lack of process in place,” Subramanian Udaiyappan, a cybersecurity specialist at Cisco, told CNN. “Twitter needs to ensure that only the right people have access to such actions and these have to go through process permissions, approvals and logging before any action is taken by an employee.”
Other questioned how Twitter was able to respond to the issue so quickly.
“Eleven minutes? Does that mean he checks his Twitter account every 60 seconds?!? How did they get it back up so fast and HOW could this happen?” asked Twitter user Luke Tucker.
Another question that many are pondering is how many other employees at Twitter have the power to silence the president of the United States.
According to CNN, employees that review accounts that are reported for abuse and have the power to suspend them tend to be junior-level staffers.
According to Buzzfeed, “a lot” of employees can suspend an account and “hundreds” of employees have the power to deactivate an account.
A former employee told Buzzfeed that there’s a relatively simple dashboard employees can use.
“It’s one click if you have the rights to access the tool,” the person said.
The employee said there have been talks about a better protocol for high-profile accounts but they never went anywhere.
“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.
But if Twitter employees can shut down the president’s account, what else can they do?
Udaiyappan told CNN the Trump situation “raises bigger questions on privacy as to what level of information access does a normal Twitter employee get.”
Trump responded to the incident with a weird tweet Friday, writing, “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.”
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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2017
Regardless of whatever that even means, Trump has often bragged that his Twitter account is his not-so-secret weapon.
“Let me tell you about Twitter,” Trump told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson in March. “I think maybe I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Twitter.”
“Twitter is a wonderful thing for me because I can get the word out,” he said.
“Someone said I’m the Ernest Hemingway of 140 characters,” Trump bragged at a rally in South Carolina last year. “If someone says something badly about you: Bing, bing, bing! I say something really bad.”