For a few minutes on Thursday, social media users were speculating if Twitter was taking some sort of political stand by deactivating the personal account of Donald J. Trump.
The United States President’s @realdonaldtrump account, which has 41.7 million followers and has been center stage for almost all the controversy surrounding him, was deactivated for about 11 minutes.
It was, however, revealed that an employee of the social media company deactivated the account on their last day of work.
Twitter had initially said that the account had been 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,” read the company’s statement.
Soon after, the company’s @Twittergov account posted another statement revealing the outage was due to an employee’s action.
“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,” the new statement read.
The San Francisco-based company suspends accounts if they’ve been hacked, if they are fake or promote spam or if they engage in abusive behavior as some would strongly argue that Trump does.
The company has in the past suspended high-profile individuals including Milo Yiannopoulos for his sustained hate campaign against actor Leslie Jones, rapper Azealia Banks for spouting racist venom at pop singer Zayn Malik among many others.
They have, however, never taken such action against Mr. Trump’s tweets, saying they are “newsworthy”.
Trump joined Twitter in March 2009 and has tweeted more than 36,000 times.
He has been an active user of the social media platform, using it to promote his policies as well as attack his opponents both during the 2016 presidential campaign and after taking the oath of office in January 2017.
In one interview in 2012, Trump spoke about his fondness of the social media site saying: “It’s like owning your own newspaper – without the losses.” In a more recent interview, he said that when someone said something about him, he was able to go “bing, bing, bing on Twitter” – and take care of it.
After the account was restored, Trump’s first tweet was about the Republican Party’s tax cuts plan.
He wrote: “Great Tax Cut rollout today. The lobbyists are storming Capital Hill, but the Republicans will hold strong and do what is right for America!”