Ex-Twitter worker who ‘admires’ Trump says he was behind account deactivation

A German man who says he “admires” Donald Trump has claimed responsibility for the deactivation of the president’s Twitter account for 11 minutes on 2 November, though questions remain about how and why he did it.

Twitter said at the time that the temporary outage was caused by “a Twitter customer support employee who did this on the employee’s last day”. Many Trump opponents hailed the unknown employee as a hero.

But Bahtiyar Duysak, 28, a former contractor for Twitter’s trust and safety team who identified himself as the rogue employee to the technology blog TechCrunch and CNN, says that the deactivation was a “mistake”.

“I’m not a rogue person,” Duysak told CNN. “I did a mistake, I confess.”

Twitter declined to comment on Duysak. “We have taken a number of steps to keep an incident like this from happening again,” a spokeswoman, Emily Horne, said in a statement. “In order to protect our internal security measures we don’t have further details to share at this time.”

Duysak has not explained exactly how the deactivation occurred. He told CNN that another Twitter user had reported Trump’s account – a process by which users can alert the company to behavior that violates Twitter’s rules.

But what happened next remains unclear. Duysak has not responded to queries from the Guardian.

TechCrunch described Duysak’s action as a “final, throwaway gesture” that “put the wheels in motion to deactivate” the account.

“It’s not like I was looking for something or planning to do it,” he told CNN. “It was in front of me, and I didn’t do a good job, and I didn’t double-check things.”

With more than 43 million followers, the @realDonaldTrump account is probably reported for violating Twitter’s rules on a regular basis.

On Wednesday alone, Trump used the account to share Islamophobic propaganda from a leader of the extreme rightwing racist organization Britain First; to pick a fight with the leader of his country’s closest ally; and to inadvertently sic a Twitter mob on a 41-year-old woman from Bognor, UK, whose Twitter handle Trump mistakenly thought belonged to the prime minister.

In recent weeks, Twitter has been attempting to crack down on extremism and abusive behavior on its platform, but the president’s account appears to be exempt from the company’s normal standards.

In September, in response to criticism for not removing a Trump tweet that included a veiled threat of war against North Korea, Twitter announced that it had long been considering “‘newsworthiness’ and whether a Tweet is of public interest’” when considering whether to remove content.

Duysak’s statements to the press have not clarified how a user report turned into a deactivation.

“Even if it was on purpose, it still shouldn’t have taken place … because of internal regulations at the company,” he added.

Duysak also does not appear to fit the mold of the rogue employee deciding to leave a job in a blaze of glory. He is back in Germany, where he was raised, after living in San Francisco for about two years, according to CNN. He came to the US as a student and subsequently worked for a number of technology companies as a contractor.

He also offered mild praise of Trump. “He is a very successful person, and I admire his hard work and how he made it to get the highest position,” he told CNN. “But I think he needs to learn a little as a politician.”

You may also like...

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *