Details Emerge on Person Who Shut Down Trump's Twitter

Twitter says steps have been taken to prevent this from happening again
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2017 3:37 PM CDT
Details Emerge on Person Who Shut Down Trump's Twitter
President Donald Trump speaks with reporters before departing the White House for a trip to Asia, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The person who shut down President Trump's Twitter account for 11 minutes was not a Twitter employee, as was initially reported, but a contractor for the company, two sources tell the New York Times. Asked about the new information, a Twitter spokesperson simply pointed to the company's initial statement (which blamed a "customer support employee" on his or her last day at work) and said a full internal investigation is underway. The Times notes that the issue highlights a potential problem for Twitter and other social media companies, which often outsource "sensitive work" to third-party contract workers; Twitter employees have expressed concerns that these workers can do things like disable accounts, though the employees say contractors cannot tweet from a user's account or access a person's direct messages.

In fact, employees tell the Verge this isn't the first time a departing worker has pulled a stunt like this. "People have ‘dropped the mic’ in the past and deleted accounts, verified users, and otherwise abused their power on the last day," says one employee, noting that none of those incidents became public. Multiple news outlets are expressing concern over Twitter security after the Trump incident, and security experts echo those concerns to the Guardian. One expert says the only surefire way to keep something like this from happening again is to always have two social media employees monitoring each other's actions. According to Twitter, though, steps have already been taken, Fox News reports. "We have implemented safeguards to prevent this from happening again," the company tweeted. "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." (More Twitter stories.)

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