A Twitter employee on their last day with the company was responsible for taking down Donald Trump's account, the social network platform has said, as the president resumed tweeting after the 11-minute outage. The account was down between about 6:45 and 7 pm ET. The deactivation was welcomed by some of the president's critics and detractors, who urged Twitter to make it permanent. The account was down for 11 minutes, and has since been restored.
On Friday, the company was at pains to point out that it had "implemented safeguards to prevent this from happening again". Twitter later blamed a company employee on his last day of work.
For his part, Trump used the opportunity to brag about his social media influence.
Hundreds of employees are able to access the accounts of so-called Very Important Tweeters, or VITs, and can take actions like disabling the accounts, according to current and former Twitter employees. "I guess the word must finally be getting out-and having an impact". It recently announced it was updating its rules around sexual harassment and violence-inciting tweets, prohibiting messages that glorify violence and broadening its definition of non-consensual sexual images.
Another person familiar with Twitter operations, speaking on condition of anonymity, said employees now can not post from a user's account, change or even view a user's password, which is encrypted. When Trump tweeted, "Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!", it increased tensions between the two countries, with North Korea weighing whether to take the statement as a declaration of war. "Independent researchers have estimated that up to 15 percent of Twitter accounts - or potentially 48 million accounts - are fake or automated", Mr. Warner said. Also, given password reuse, which the president may or may not be guilty of, the people with access to his account password could possibly compromise email accounts and more, making for a serious national security risk.
But Ewan Lawson, Senior Research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute think tank in London, says it's unlikely that one "rogue" tweet from Trump's account would actually spark a global crisis.
Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology, said the suspension reflected a need for Twitter to be more transparent about its ability to control accounts but also demonstrated the perils of a head of state relying on digital technology as a primary mode of communication. Reputation has incalculable value-as shown in this example.