Ex-Twitter worker claims responsibility
for Trump's account shutdown
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[November 30, 2017]
By David Ingram
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A German man has
come forward as the former Twitter Inc employee who shut down the
account of U.S. President Donald Trump for 11 minutes this month on his
last day of work at the social network.
The technology news website TechCrunch published an interview on
Wednesday with Bahtiyar Duysak, whom it called a 20-something with
Turkish roots who was born and raised in Germany. He was a temporary
contract worker in San Francisco for Twitter, the website said.
Duysak, who had not previously been identified as the person behind the
takedown, told TechCrunch that he considered Trump's temporary silencing
a "mistake" and never thought the account would get deactivated.
It was not a planned act, he said. Rather, he said, the chance to
shutter the account fell into his lap near the end of his scheduled
final shift, and he decided to take it.
"There are millions of people who would take actions against him if they
had the possibility. In my case, it was just random," Duysak said in a
video of the interview posted online. He wore a gray sweater emblazoned
with the American flag.
Twitter on Wednesday would not confirm whether Duysak was the
ex-employee in question or answer other questions. Reuters could not
immediately reach Duysak.
BuzzFeed News, citing two anonymous sources, reported separately that
Duysak was the ex-employee responsible.
Duysak is a former volunteer security guard at a Muslim community center
in California, BuzzFeed reported. Trump has been critical of Muslims,
calling during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign for a "total and
complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the United States.
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The masthead of U.S. President Donald Trump's @realDonaldTrump
Twitter account is seen on July 11, 2017.
@realDonaldTrump/Handout/File Photo via REUTERS
The takedown of Trump's account on Nov. 2 sparked concerns among
Twitter users over how much power employees have over sensitive
accounts and whether abuse of their power could lead to
Twitter said in a statement on Wednesday: "We have taken a number of
steps to keep an incident like this from happening again."
Duysak did not shed much light on the incident. Near the end of his
last day at the San Francisco-based company, an alert came to him
that someone had reported Trump's account for an unspecified
violation, he said.
Duysak put the wheels in motion to deactivate it, TechCrunch said,
although the account did not go offline until hours later. Neither
Duysak nor TechCrunch explained the delay.
"I didn't hack anyone. I didn't do anything which I wasn't
authorized to do," he said.
(Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
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