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Trump’s Twitter troll timed those 11 minutes terribly, at least for me. I was about to head out to a Cirque de Soleil show with my parents and girlfriend. I had made a final headline suggestion to a colleague, scheduled my last story for the day, and was grabbing the car keys when that same colleague pointed out Trump’s Twitter account had disappeared.
A few reactions hit me in quick succession. First, I was shocked — there’s no way Twitter had taken the advice to actually enforce its own rules consistently. Then I was amused — whatever the cause or the reason, this is hilarious. Finally, I was excited, but cautious — this is newsworthy, but let’s make sure we don’t say something we haven’t confirmed.
And then the account was back.
We took our time, running a story and updating it as more information came in. When I returned from the circus, I tweeted my previous op-ed arguing that Twitter needs to ban Trump when he crosses the line:
— Emil Protalinski (@EPro) November 3, 2017
As much as I would want Twitter to clean up its act, I doubt the company will. It’s running a business, after all, or at least it’s trying.
But yesterday’s curious 11-minute event did bring to light a problem that I think Twitter will definitely pull out all stops to solve.
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
How in the hell can one person do so much damage in so little time? This is a public company we’re talking about, not the White House.
It’s frankly insane that a Twitter customer support employee can ban an account so easily. Unlike the U.S. government, Twitter apparently doesn’t have many checks and balances in place.
Whenever something goes horribly wrong, you can expect the company statement to include a mention of “a full internal review.” But this is one of those cases where the result won’t simply be another blog post, or in Twitter’s case, a tweetstorm. No, Twitter is going to do everything in its power to make sure this can’t happen again.
After all, its biggest asset was just trolled.
ProBeat is a column in which Emil rants about whatever crosses him that week.
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