Trump Account Deactivation Raises Twitter Security Questions
The temporary deactivation Thursday of the personal Twitter account of President Donald Trump, @realDonaldTrump, by a customer support employee on their last day of employment has raised questions about Twitter’s internal security.
- By Jessica Davis
- Nov 06, 2017
The temporary deactivation of the personal Twitter account of President Donald Trump, @realDonaldTrump, by a customer support employee on their last day of employment has raised questions about Twitter’s internal security.
Last week, Twitter initially said that @realDonaldTrump was “inadvertently deactivated due to human error” but later said that the account was deactivated by a third-party customer support contractor. The social media platform has not yet released the employee’s name and stated it was “conducting a full internal review” and “taking steps to prevent this from happening again.”
The 11-minute deactivation has led to questions about the internal security and protocol that allowed a customer support employee to deactivate such a high-profile account. A former senior Twitter employee said that “a lot” of employees have the ability to suspend a user’s account, though fewer are able to fully deactivate one.
The source said that the system was simple to navigate, with account deactivation a click away if an employee has the right to access the tool. They added that Twitter had discussed special protections for verified or high-profile accounts but had never implemented these protections or changed protocol despite awareness that its suspension permissions were open to abuse.
According to Twitter Support, accounts currently may be suspended or deactivated for violations of the Twitter rules, such as abusive tweets or behavior, account security problems or spam. In addition, Twitter offers a reward program for security researchers who report qualifying security vulnerabilities in the platform.
Twitter has not commented on plans to prevent unauthorized deactivation of accounts from happening again.
Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.