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.
During that brief time period, the president was unable to tweet insults, boasts, odd syntax, or misinformation about terrorism.
People were into it.
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:
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.