President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, @realdonaldtrump, disappeared from the site for around 11 beautiful minutes shortly before 7PM ET. It was not initially clear what happened to the account, and Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a series of tweets issued by Twitter’s Government and Elections team, the company first blamed “human error,” then attributed the move on a rogue employee who used their last day on the job to boot the president off the service.
Earlier today @realdonaldtrump’s account was inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee. 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.— Twitter Government (@TwitterGov) November 3, 2017
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
During that brief time period, the president was unable to tweet insults, boasts, odd syntax, or misinformation about terrorism.
People were into it.
I think we just came together as a nation for 23 seconds.— Madeline Hill (@mad_hill) November 2, 2017
Dang. That was the best five minutes of the year.— Gina Dalfonzo (@ginadalfonzo) November 2, 2017
goddamn it. well, now we all know how la la land felt— demi adejuyigbe (@electrolemon) November 2, 2017
Those few precious minutes were like when Andy played the opera record over the Shawshank PA system.— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) November 2, 2017
Trump's twitter account vanishing and then reappearing moments later is the best evidence yet that the events of the past 2 years are the result of warring sects of time travellers— Nfinit (@Nfinit) November 2, 2017
Let’s hope it was an A/B test and will be rolling out sitewide soon— Dr. Time (@tcarmody) November 2, 2017
now do all of us— Silvia Killingsworth (@silviakillings) November 2, 2017
There have been ongoing calls for Twitter to ban Trump over tweets that critics said could be interpreted as calls to violence. Twitter has said that it would enforce the same rules for Trump as it does for other accounts.
Other critics have questioned the basic security of Trump’s account, noting that he continues to tweet from an Android phone that may be vulnerable to hacking. My former colleague Adrianne Jeffries suggested the account may have been hacked:
Seems like a hacker or an inside job? Restored almost immediately by Twitter HQ. If it had been suspended it would have said suspended.— Adrianne Jeffries (@adrjeffries) November 2, 2017
Yet it was not a hack, but the work of a lone Twitter employee supposedly with the power to deactivate individual accounts at will, even those managed by hot-tempered heads of state.
Update at 8:10PM ET: Added official statement from Twitter. The headline has also been updated to reflect the new information.
Update at 10:13PM ET: Added second official statement, with accompanying changes to headline and copy.