People on social media had a field day with the news that a Twitter employee deleted President Donald Trump’s Twitter page on the employee’s last day. The meme, joke and GIF creation went into overdrive, with Trump opponents expressing glee that the president’s Twitter page was shut down at last, if only for 11 minutes.
People on Twitter immediately noticed that Trump’s Twitter page was gone. At first, people were unsure whether Trump deleted his own page or Twitter deleted or suspended Trump’s page as some have called on the tech giant to do. That’s the page that Trump uses, of course, to call people out, call people names, and get his message across to his more than 41 million followers outside what he considers to be the warped media filter. What would the world be like without Trump’s Twitter page? America found out, just not for very long. Who was the rogue employee? The person hasn’t been named yet, but social media users had a fun time imagining the scene at the time of deletion.
Twitter pretty quickly posted a message that explained the Trump Twitter outage. “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,” Twitter wrote on its “Twitter Government” page. That message came after Twitter had initially written that the Trump deletion was “inadvertently deactivated.”
Twitter’s first message about the Trump Twitter situation read, “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.” Donald Trump has not yet weighed in on the Twitter deletion.
People who don’t like Donald Trump praised the so-far anonymous Twitter employee. “The employee who shut Trump’s Twitter account down for 11 glorious minutes deserves an award – he/she is a hero!” wrote one person on Twitter. Another wrote, “I mean, how often are you gonna get to say that you left your job by deactivating a president’s Twitter account, even if it was just Trump?” Wrote another, “#NobelPeacePrize We have a Twitter ex-employee for your consideration. Best exit interview ever! #trumptwitter.”
The jokes flew. “Once a week you should let one lucky Twitter employee push the button that shuts up Trump — you could bill that as an employee benefit,” wrote one Twitter user. “Twitter has 3500 employees. If each mimics this hero we could be free of trump tweets for pretty much a full month. A full month!” wrote another.
Trump supporters criticized Trump opponents for not caring about the president’s free speech rights. “President Trump is the one who brought millions to twitter…trust me we are only here for for him….and this is how we are treated?” wrote one woman. Another supporter said, “The people working for twitter are biased against conservatives. Trump’s Twitter being “deleted” is proof. Sad!” However, another person wanted to know, “WHO IS THIS TWITTER WORKER WHO DELETED TRUMP’S ACCOUNT????????!!!!!!!!!! im in love.”
The editor of Politico raised a serious point amidst the jokes: “It is shocking that some random Twitter employee could shut down the president’s account. What if they instead had tweeted fake messages?” He added, “Seriously, what if this person had tweeted about a fictional nuclear strike on North Korea?”
According to Buzzfeed, a source told the site that “‘a lot’ of employees have the ability to suspend a user’s account and that fewer, in the hundreds, can deactivate one. The former employee described the system like a dashboard, meaning employees might not need engineering skills to suspend or deactivate an account. The source noted that Twitter was aware that its suspension permissions could be abused but did not change its protocol.”