Twitter is putting new safeguards in place Friday after an outgoing employee was able to shut down President Donald Trump’s account briefly, the company said Friday.
Trump, perhaps Twitter’s most famous user, suggested the incident was due to his success as a leader. “My Twitter account was taken down for 11 minutes by a rogue employee,” Trump tweeted. “I guess the word must finally be getting out – and having an impact.”
But the company did not provide a reason for the employee’s actions but said it is taking measures to ensure similar incidents could not occur.
“We have implemented safeguards to prevent this from happening again,” Twitter said in a statement. “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.”
Twitter’s explanation has led many to wonder how a low-level employee was able to wield such outsized influence on the platform.
The employee in question was a part-time contractor, not part of Twitter’s full-time staff, according to media reports.
Micah Zenko, a national security analyst at the Chatham House international affairs think tank, said it was “amazing” how Twitter mishandled Trump’s account.
“That this could happen to a president’s account demonstrates Twitter has poor insider threat controls and indicators,” he said in a tweet.
Also Friday, Twitter published significant updates to its policies. The revisions clarify regulations on abuse, unwanted spam and graphic content.
Specifically, some of the rules appear to counter arguments that Trump is in violation of Twitter’s terms of service because of his threatening comments toward North Korea.
“We are making it clear that context — including if the behavior is targeted, if a report has been filed and by whom, and if the Tweet itself is newsworthy and in the legitimate public interest — is crucial when evaluating abusive behavior and determining appropriate enforcement actions,” Twitter said in a statement.
Also published on Medium.