Updated For a few minutes on Thursday afternoon, Pacific Time, the Twitter account of US President Donald J. Trump ceased to exist – sensationally deleted by a Twitter worker on their last day of work, we're told.
The absence of such a distinctive, dare we say divisive, social media voice was immediately noticed, and welcomed by some.
"For a brief moment Trump’s twitter was down & outside my window white nationalists were paying reparations to black people," commented writer and Harvard PhD candidate Clint Smith. "Then I awoke."
"We’ll all remember where we were during the 10 minutes of peace while Donald Trump’s Twitter account was down," quipped comedy writer Mike Drucker.
The temporary deactivation came as Twitter rolled out new rules on using its service, prompting netizens to wonder if the President's account had catastrophically fallen foul of the regulations.
Wow. Okay. They actually did it. @realDonaldTrump, you're fired, says Twitter pic.twitter.com/iqO4VZn7ja— The Register (@TheRegister) November 2, 2017
Oh, uh. Wait. It's back. pic.twitter.com/umYWp9EzUu— The Register (@TheRegister) November 2, 2017
A few minutes after the vanishing act, though, Twitter blamed human error; specifically, a lone human's error. "Earlier today @realdonaldtrump’s account was inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee," the San Francisco-based upstart said... via itself. "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."
We speculated the account was removed by a rogue staffer announcing to their bosses that they had quit. We weren't far off. In an updated statement, Twitter claimed:
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.
That a support-level worker could delete a profile with 41 million followers, a profile belonging to the leader of the free world no less, is staggering. And also awesome. ®
We updated this story post-publication to add Twitter's latest position blaming a resigning customer-support bod. The social network specifically described this person as an employee, but said worker was an outside contractor, it is claimed. Meanwhile, Twitter HQ said it has put in place measures to stop this sort of thing happening again...
Update: We have implemented safeguards to prevent this from happening again. We won’t be able to share all details about our internal investigation or updates to our security measures, but we take this seriously and our teams are on it. https://t.co/8EfEzHvB7p— Twitter Government (@TwitterGov) November 3, 2017