Twitter’s suspension of Trump account raises serious questions
President Donald Trump's personal Twitter account was shut down on Thursday after a disgruntled Twitter employee had deactivated the account the company said. But does Twitter's explanation make sense?
Published: November 3, 2017, 8:11 am
Trump’s Twitter account is undoubtedly the most high-profile one on the platform, and in all likelihood it must have been monitored closely to adhere to the companies terms of service.
Trump’s @realDonaldTrump account went down for 11 minutes due to “human error” according to the company. On further investigation, Twitter explained in a series of tweets that the president’s account was deactivated “by a Twitter customer support employee who did this on the employee’s last day”.
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
But it remains a mystery as to how it was possible for a single Twitter employee to remove the account of the most powerful Twitter user. Two sources familiar with the company told recode.net that employees on Twitter’s Trust and Safety team have the ability to suspend or remove accounts, but a second source said that this was limited.
Twitter had previously considered a safeguard in which it would require two employees to remove important, notable Twitter accounts, but the second source added that the safeguard had never been implemented.
But yet another source claimed that Twitter’s top employees, including the CEO, could not automatically delete an account, because accounts were monitored via the company’s dashboards. According to this source, it would have required considerable technical skills to beat the system.
A company spokesperson meanwhile, has declined to comment on internal safety and security operations for “security reasons”, but it might not be enough to quell fears over how the company treats its users in general.
One of the most notable users has been actress Rose McGowan, who tweeted last year about the sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, whose behaviour had “been an open secret in Hollywood/Media & they shamed me while adulating my rapist”. Twitter pulled the plug on her account, suggesting that the move was designed to protect Weinstein from her allegations.
She posted a screenshot to Instagram showing that Twitter has suspended her account.
Twitter’s CEO recently said “We’re putting significant effort into increasing our transparency as a company, and commit to meaningful and fast progress,” but quite the contrary was evident in McGowan’s case. The company has justified retaining offensive tweets or accounts in the past because they were deemed “newsworthy”.
Tweeters have complained that Twitter has purposefully censored and “suppressed” certain content, particularly the leaked Democratic National Committee and John Podesta emails, as well as hashtags critical of Hillary Clinton while “shadow-banning” pro-Donald Trump content.
During a US Senate hearing, Twitter admitted that it had “buried” a significant amount of tweets related to hacked emails from the DNC and Clinton campaign chair Podesta in the months heading into the 2016 presidential campaign
It his 48 percent of tweets using the #DNCLeak hashtag and 25 percent of tweets using #PodestaEmails, Twitter general counsel Sean Edgett has admitted in his written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
This week, Twitter, Facebook and Google testified at three Congressional hearings about their platforms being predominantly anti-Trump. The fact that a single company employee could remove the US President’s Twitter account, added fuel to the fire.
— Julian Assange 🔹 (@JulianAssange) November 3, 2017
During the account’s downtime, shortly before 4pm Pacific time (11pm GMT), anyone going to the @realDonaldTrump Twitter page could only see the message “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!”
Before Twitter’s statement, some speculated that Trump himself may have deactivated his account or he may have been hacked due to his alleged poor security standards.
Twitter suspends accounts if they engage in “abusive” behavior, if they’ve been hacked or if they are fake or promote spam. The San Francisco-based company has in the past suspended high-profile individuals including Milo Yiannopoulos, after he called out actress Leslie Jones, as well as the rapper Azealia Banks, who had made “racist” remark about singer Zayn Malik. But they have not touched many jihadist accounts or those of users calling for the assassination of Trump
Twitter has also censored conservative website, The Drudge Report, and even Eric Trump’s tweets about the economy under his father.
The president, who has more than 40 million followers on the platform, has expressed his like for the medium in the past. “It’s like owning your own newspaper – without the losses,” Trump noted in 2012.
Ascending to the highest office in the United States Trump has steered US policy with his 140-character limit, despite his promise in November 2016 to be “very restrained, if I use it [Twitter] at all” once he became president.
In the last year, he has hinted about changing nuclear weapons policy and praised Russian president Vladimir Putin as “very smart”.
All rights reserved. You have permission to quote freely from the articles provided that the source (www.freewestmedia.com) is given. Photos may not be used without our consent.
Keep your language polite. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in, for example, Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.
If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violations of any law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.
If your comments are subject to preview by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.
We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.
BrasiliaNew Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced the withdrawal from the UN Global Compact on Migration as he had promised to do earlier.
WashingtonThe US government shutdown has continued for 18 days. Now defense contractors and lobbyists are starting to worry that it could be bad for Israel.
WashingtonThe United States' national defense hierarchy is, for the first time in history, largely run by women. According to mainstream MSNBC, women have taken over the US military-industrial complex.
Facebook monitors billions of posts per day in over 100 languages. The company’s solution is a network of ideologically-minded workers that ban content with the help of PowerPoint slides. That sadly does not include child porn on third-party apps.
New YorkColumbia University student Julian von Abele, whose comments on Twitter about white people went viral earlier this week, released a statement on Tuesday defending himself.
SantiagoChile has joined the growing exodus from the United Nations Migration Compact. It has become the latest country to withdraw, President's Sebastian Pinera's administration announced.
WashingtonThe US federal government has been neglecting vaccine safety obligations for decades. Anti-vaccine activists have now won an important lawsuit against the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
An Islamic State-linked media outlet says a Canadian man - not Russia - was behind the terror group’s highest-profile cyber attacks, including the takeover of the Twitter account of the US military’s Central Command.
Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections in the United States, the mainstream media were directing their campaign reporting against Republicans.
The number of US troops to be deployed at the Mexico border could reach 15 000, President Trump said on Wednesday afternoon.