Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Twitter Social Networks Technology Your Rights Online

Twitter Employee Blamed For Deleting President Donald Trump's Account (npr.org) 377

A reader shares an NPR report: With the push of a button, an employee at Twitter accomplished for a brief few minutes on Thursday what President Trump's closest advisors have reportedly been trying unsuccessfully to do for months: shut down the seemingly never-ending tweet stream at @realDonaldTrump. Perhaps it was an act of civil disobedience, or maybe just a "take this job and shove it" moment, but shortly before 7 p.m., the president's personal account kicked back the error message "does not exist." By 7:03 p.m., it was up and running again and within about a half-hour, new presidential tweets were forthcoming. The folks at Twitter leapt into action to find out what had happened: "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," the company said in a statement. Two hours later, the company said, "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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Twitter Employee Blamed For Deleting President Donald Trump's Account

Comments Filter:
  • The REAL question is (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Friday November 03, 2017 @09:02AM (#55482261)
    How many other accounts have simply been disappeared by a twitter employee that didn't like the account that never got noticed and remained deleted because they weren't the President of the US?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by leonbev ( 111395 )

      No, the real question is why they restored it so quickly. I would have loved having a week or two without having to hear about the latest Trump rant on CNN.

      • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Friday November 03, 2017 @09:37AM (#55482535)

        I would have loved having a week or two without having to hear about the latest Trump rant on CNN.

        Then maybe you should watch less CNN. Do you really think that their non-stop anti-Trump ranting is in any way going to be modified by whether or not he's just tweeted something? If they can go on for a solid day about which shoes his wife wears on the way to get on an airplane, your hopes for them shutting up their one-note editorial focus for a week or two because of ANY change in communication method by Trump is just a silly fantasy.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by gnick ( 1211984 )

        Trump's tweets are the only reason I have Twitter installed. They're a national embarrassment, incredibly reckless, and I wish they'd stop. I REALLY wish they'd stop. But, since they won't, I make the most of them. They're a window into the confusing mind of a very powerful man. We always know exactly what he's thinking. And, for better or worse, so does anyone else. In the sense that he's accurately reflecting his thoughts, he's more honest there than anywhere else. Even when his tweets are wildly inaccura

      • by I75BJC ( 4590021 ) on Friday November 03, 2017 @10:08AM (#55482887)
        I never hear of these so-called "Trump rants". I don't watch CNN or any TV news outlets. (All the stories are virtually the same. It's just the characters, the places, or the causes/issues that are different. That's all. I ignored the Media for 6 months once, on purpose, and then listened again. Every story was the same just different characters, places, and clauses/issues. Just the same bovine scat. Like in the "Casablanca" film, at the end, when the Vichy French officer instructs his junior police officers to round up the "usual suspects". American Politics is exactly the same -- just a drama to keep the uninformed from living their lives. These sycophants want all the attention focused on theirselves but they don't desire it. But you have fallen into the Trap!)
        • by WheezyJoe ( 1168567 ) <feggNO@SPAMexcite.com> on Friday November 03, 2017 @11:00AM (#55483387)

          Every story was the same just different characters, places, and clauses/issues. Just the same bovine scat. Like in the "Casablanca" film, at the end, when the Vichy French officer instructs his junior police officers to round up the "usual suspects". American Politics is exactly the same -- just a drama to keep the uninformed from living their lives.

          That's because most "news" has to be entertaining, in order to attract people's attention and keep it long enough to expose them to an ad, ask them for a pledge, or persuade them their tax money is well spent (depending on what country you're in). So they broadcast most often what they think is going to grab the most attention.

          There's actually two kinds of news. The first kind you watch only because your job depends on it. This news is boring: farming reports, commodity news, financial news and market reports, that kind of thing. You won't see Trump's Tweets there, but unless you have some reason to watch/read/listen to this stuff, you won't.

          Then there's the other news that you watch because it's at least part-way entertaining. Informative, sure, but politics, disasters, and videos of kittens being rescued from a tree are all entertaining, and the people in these businesses are in competition with each other to get more viewers. They all look the same? No surprise - in media and politics, you tend to work the same formula that succeeded in the past. FWIW, Trump's Tweets attracts attention, so infotainment news splashes them up like they're the next damn moon landing. Followed by an important message from Polident denture cleaner (keeps your teeth from being stinky and gross). Mission accomplished.

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by chispito ( 1870390 )

        No, the real question is why they restored it so quickly. I would have loved having a week or two without having to hear about the latest Trump rant on CNN.

        Then don't watch CNN.

      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        No, the real question is why they restored it so quickly.

        Indeed. I have read enough stories of how others have had to fight to get access back when it was removed in error. He should have gone through the same process as others, and being met with the same runarounds and scripted first level support as everybody else.
        He has the @POTUS account for presidential use, and should not have any special privileges for his personal account.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

      Loads. I hear about it from their friends on Twitter all the time. Never seen one get restore this fast though. Usually its weeks, or the user just gives up and creates a new account.

      Arguably in this case, the account in question has in fact violated twitter's TOS repeatedly. Its been making death threats and bullying other twitter users even today after restoration. If it was anybody BUT the POTUS it would have been shut off long ago.

    • No, the REAL question is - does this ex-employee have a Patreon?

    • That's happening right now on Youtube to my friend's account. His conservative video keeps getting demonetized and then approved over and over.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      The bigger question that should have been clarified long before now is "The president's tweets have zero legal or military weight, right? This should be a silly question but seriously can we get a fucking answer ASAP?"

      Obviously, Trump should not issue anything resembling military commands via twitter nor should the military follow anything that looks like a command via twitter.

      The first part of that should go without saying, but given that the electoral college elites have successfully put the most in
  • Cloud yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi AT evcircuits DOT com> on Friday November 03, 2017 @09:03AM (#55482265) Homepage

    Where your data can get deleted by a click of a button by a disgruntled employee and even the fucking president of the United States can't be spared nor can his data be restored in less than 11 minutes.

    Imagine if you weren't the president, would they even care?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Nothing gets deleted in the true sense. It's flagged to be hidden. If you're one of the many agencies or advertisers with API access to twitter, FB, Google, Apple accounts, you'll see everything ever posted even if the account holder cannot.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Uhh it is fucking Twitter and it is NOT YOUR DATA. You use their service and agree to their terms and conditions. And being president does not give him anymore fucking authority on Twitter than you or I. Hell, if Twitter deactivated POTUS and Trump's personal account and decided they don't want the likes of him on their service that is their choice.

      The market may decide to respond with new alternatives to Twitter because of the censorship and that is the risk Twitter will take.

    • Where your data can get deleted by a click of a button by a disgruntled employee and even the fucking president of the United States can't be spared nor can his data be restored in less than 11 minutes.

      . . . and just how much do you pay for your Twitter account . . . ? It's just like the rest of life: you get what you pay for.

      Imagine if you weren't the president, would they even care?

      Obviously, they don't even really care if you are president . . . otherwise, his account would not have been deactivated in the first place.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

      Restored in 11 minutes no less. Anecdotally, it usually takes weeks. Try that trick if you aren't POTUS.

      Particularly if your profile is full of name-calling and threats like his is. Good luck.

    • The question is, when we place all of our free speech eggs into the corporate basket... should we care? Or should we rather say, "Good! This is why you don't let Facebook/Twitter/Youtube be the sole carriers of your voice and online identity."

      I, for one, think the latter reaction is more appropriate. Some are reacting like there was some "right" violated. Not at all. Company hits delete button. Because they can. Sure, this was a rogue employee, but if Twitter itself did it, the masses would be crying

    • Where your data ...

      wait, whose data?

    • Uhh, I've worked in a place where we went from our own internally hosted and managed DB to a cloud hosted one. I had master DB access before the change and after, so I could have deleted or modified a user account on the cloud or off the cloud. The cloud did not make that any better or worse. And restoring from backup or (as was the case here) changing a record that was incorrectly made inactive to active again didn't get significantly faster or slower on the cloud vs off the cloud either.

      None of this ha

  • Shouldn't communication monopolies be subjected to common-carrier regulations to prevent them from abusing peoples' free-speech rights?
    • Twitter unconscionably restricts users's free speech to fewer than 255 characters. We demand the full 8-bit width of a one-byte length descriptor.
      • Twitter unconscionably restricts users's free speech to fewer than 255 characters. We demand the full 8-bit width of a one-byte length descriptor.

        Individual characters in Tweets are from a set larger than 255, <cough>unlike on Slashdot...</cough>

    • by Bigbutt ( 65939 )

      Anyone can set up another twitter clone. Heck, a quick search shows several clones so they're not a monopoly.

      There is no law that says they have to let you speak. The Republicans fixed that back in the 80's by removing the Fairness Doctrine and again in 2004 or so by refusing to consider reinstating it. Punishment to a company/corporation is by folks going to alternate twitter sites or just not using it.

      [John]

      • Re:Monopoly (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bigbutt ( 65939 ) on Friday November 03, 2017 @09:35AM (#55482509) Homepage Journal

        As a note, the reason for the Fairness Doctrine being removed was Cable News like CNN. The Fairness Doctrine was intended to make sure everyone had a voice on the big three channels. With Cable, people aren't locked in to ABC, NBC, or CBS. You can get news from CNN or any other company that can get a cable presence. Then with the 'net, there are even more options with FoxNews and lots and lots of other sites like BBC and Al Jazeera.

        The problem with this though is folks start to gravitate to their bubbles. Don't like hearing a Conservative or Liberal spin on the news? There are sites that cater just to your ideology. You don't hear other viewpoints and worse, the viewpoints you do hear are much stronger. And even worse are News Aggregators like the ones on devices (phones and tablets) and like Facebook where they're weighing what you click on and configuring your feed to give you more of what you indicate you like enough to read. Without a conscious effort to go to alternate sites, you get into a feedback loop.

        Over the years I've found myself getting into that loop and having to work at broadening my news to include sites outside my ideology. The bad part are the aggregation sites aren't good at providing just news. I'll go to different sites and then have the "For You" sites include opinions that can be quite offensive, to the point that I have to block them from my views.

        [John]

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          Pretending that it's somehow equal is totally wrong. The Left utterly banished opposing opinions from the airwaves. It got so bad that conservative opinions retreated all the way to AM radio, a terrible ghetto, to be heard. I mean, come on, AM radio? It's a wonder that it still exists, and I had that thought 30 years ago. Then Murdoch started his Fox news, but what else? Prior to the rise of citizen journalism on Youtube, there was hardly anything but tame, controlled opposition which would be allowed

      • The Fairness Doctrine was only for licensed broadcasters which twitter, facebook, and other social media, etc... is not. It didn't cover newspapers or magazines either just radio and TV.

        It also didn't give you the right to speak it actually took away the rights for editorial opinions and required that broadcasting be for the public interest and that controversial issues be reported in a non-biased manner.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      1. That's not how free speech rights work. You are protected from the GOVERNMENT preventing you from speaking. This is a private company. They can censor anything they like (including the president, although they might have to retain his tweets, because of legal reasons).

      2. I'd really like to understand your logic for how a service that depends on other mediums for transmission could possibly be a "common-carrier". They don't provide service. They aren't a telephone company. They aren't a wireless c

    • It's not even close to a monopoly, but it is hugely influential and I think you are 100% correct that they need to be forced to choose between being an editor or taking advantage of common-carrier types of protections of content. Most of these companies want it both ways, and I don't think they should be allowed to succeed.

  • by mveloso ( 325617 ) on Friday November 03, 2017 @09:15AM (#55482337)

    What we've discovered is that Twitter CSRs can whack any account whenever they want, for whatever reason they want. They have no real oversight whatsoever, so when this juvy decided to do something they just did it and left the building.

    Besides being an asshole move, it shows a distinct lack of internal controls.

  • It would have been much more effective if they'd banned the account for violating TOS rather than deleting it.

    It would have been a bit more embarrassing for Twitter to handle, and I'm guessing the reason it took only 11 minutes to notice was some notification system that was triggered when a billion hits went to the same dead link. Maybe if the site had been serving up a banned user message, it would have taken longer to notice.

  • His approval rating would probably rise if they did.
    I neither voted for the guy, nor am I a "nevertrumper"; I think he's unfairly maligned much of the time (sometimes he deserves it too), but a lot of his tweets are ridiculous.

    • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )
      It would be tough for it to drop.
      • >It would be tough for it to drop.

        Nicolae Ceausescu had double-digit approval ratings when he was executed (And oddly enough, today about half the rural population and a third of the urban population of Romania would vote for him if he weren't busy being dead).

        The leader always has some support, if only because there are selfish and immoral people prospering under the regime.

  • The Amazing Part (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dlleigh ( 313922 ) on Friday November 03, 2017 @09:25AM (#55482435)
    The amazing part of this episode is that Twitter discovered the disgruntled employee's action and rectified it in 11 minutes. How did they find out so quickly? Either the employee bragged or the action set off a trip wire, meaning that particular account was closely monitored by Twitter. I doubt that even the White House would be able to get Twitter to act so quickly once POTUS or his staff discovered that the account was broken.
    • by iamacat ( 583406 )

      They probably have a bot that continiously polls high profile accounts for continued availability and a convinient reactivate button on SRE dashboard?

    • Its such a huge revenue stream for them I wouldnt be supried if it didn't break several metrics they monitor 24/7. Probably got a call internally within 2 minutes of it being down, noticed just before the phone lines and e-mail started to light up.
  • They're just like the Maquisards in WW2!
  • our investigation we have learned that this was done by a Twitter customer support employee who did this on the employee's last day

    Was it the employee's last day before they deleted Trump's account?

  • by DeplorableCodeMonkey ( 4828467 ) on Friday November 03, 2017 @09:38AM (#55482543)

    They got lucky that the person was smart enough to not delete the account. There are plenty of political radicals in SV that would have not been so rational. Since the threat of firing was already gone, the only way Twitter can punish them now is to publicly name the person who did this. That is also a good way to make it clear to other employees that if they follow in this person's footsteps, Twitter will not hesitate to nuke them in defense of its interests and users.

    Like it or not, Trump is not just some user. He is almost a full blown asset with a monetary value to Twitter because he drives so much user engagement. Had the person deleted the account, Trump would have had a few options. One of which is Twitter's nightmare: move to Gab. Right now, Gab only has a few hundred thousand users and the neo-Nazis retards have a loud and proud presence there. I can guarantee you that if this SJW had deleted the account, Gab would have grown at least an order of magnitude within a few days. With 90 days, it would probably have at least 5M, if not 10M, users. Twitter would have also lost a huge source of engagement which would drive the conversations there down even further.

    If Twitter management cares about shareholders (we know they don't, as Dorsey is still in charge), they'll take swift and brutal action against this person and their career.

    • Bad idea. First, naming him/her would lead to instant fame and possibly financial gain. Whereas a "here's two weeks Starbucks money and an agreement that you'll never talk about this" is better for Twitter. Second, it's possible this was a more stupid than malicious move (e.g., "herp derp lets see if I can delete the president's account, herp derp, oh shit oh shit oh shit"). In that case, the problem is really more on Twitter's crappy process and controls than it is on the worker bees dropped on the ant
    • There is no such thing as "deletion" of social media account. It is cute that you think the data goes away when you "delete" your account though.
    • Since the threat of firing was already gone, the only way Twitter can punish them now is to publicly name the person who did this. That is also a good way to make it clear to other employees that if they follow in this person's footsteps, Twitter will not hesitate to nuke them in defense of its interests and users.

      I agree, they should name the this terrible person, and also publish a link to his or her Patreon or GoFundMe so everyone knows what not to pay money to. If there's a bar they frequent, Twitter

  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Friday November 03, 2017 @10:36AM (#55483165)

    >> this was done by a Twitter customer support employee who did this on the employee's last day.

    Was it their last day before they did it?

  • But couldn't he have deleted *Trump*, not just his twitter account?

  • by PPH ( 736903 )

    Why start out on such a judgmental note?

  • From what I've heard (I don't use so-called 'social media' of any kind, not for at least 10 years now) Trump's account on Twitter should have been deleted a long time ago for violation of Terms of Service (hate speech, etc) and it certainly should be deleted now for posting 'fake news' and 'alternative facts' (read as: PROPAGANDA). Of course the downside to that would be the American people wouldn't have daily reminders of what a jackass he is, since he proves that on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis, with

The world is coming to an end ... SAVE YOUR BUFFERS!!!

Working...