Hero Twitter Employee Who Deactivated President Trump’s Account Gives First Interview

Remember that time when, for 11 glorious minutes, Donald Trump didn’t have a Twitter account? And then all the Pepe avatars went nuts and wanted the guy who did it arrested for treason? Well, aside from all the other reasons it’s insane to think not letting a guy use Twitter is treason, it turns out the employee in question isn’t even American.

Said employee, a contractor who was leaving Twitter, is named Bahtiyar Duysak, and I’m sure Hannity is already calling him a terrorist or something equally ridiculous, but TechCrunch caught up with him in Germany and got an interview that shed some light on what happened on Duysak’s last day working for Twitter’s Trust and Safety department and why it happened.

His last day at Twitter was mostly uneventful, he says. There were many goodbyes, and he worked up until the last hour before his computer access was to be shut off. Near the end of his shift, the fateful alert came in.

This is where Trump’s behavior intersects with Duysak’s work life. Someone reported Trump’s account on Duysak’s last day; as a final, throwaway gesture, he put the wheels in motion to deactivate it. Then he closed his computer and left the building.

Trump broke the rules, so he, as part of his job description and in line with Twitter’s rules, deactivated Trump’s account. The thing is, he didn’t know he actually could deactivate Trump’s account. Because for all of the people constantly calling for Trump to be banned from Twitter, Twitter’s internal policies basically protect Trump from ever losing access to the platform.

Duysak describes the event as a “mistake.” Specifically, he told us, he never thought the account would actually get deactivated.

In fact, it appeared that Trump’s account was essentially protected from being deactivated over Terms of Service violations. In June, Twitter explained why: Some tweets that seemingly violate its terms of service are nevertheless “newsworthy” and therefore in the public interest to keep up.

I’m personally on Twitter’s side here, you can’t ban the President of the United States from your platform even if he is an asshole. There’s a public interest in letting the president address the public, regardless of the content of his message. We gave him the unilateral authority to initiate a nuclear first strike against anyone he wants, so why the hell are we so worried about him having a Twitter account?

Now, they aren’t legally obligated to allow the president to have a Twitter account, either. And for the people who think Duysak broke some kind of law, he didn’t. He didn’t do anything outside the scope of his duties at Twitter. He did the job he was given in the way he was told to do it, and not agreeing with the outcome doesn’t make it illegal.

“I didn’t hack anyone. I didn’t do anything that I was not authorized to do,” he told us when we met in Germany. “I didn’t go to any site I was not supposed to go to. I didn’t break any rules.”

I do think it takes some huge balls to make a statement that the president should have to play by the same rules as everyone else. Twitter’s recent crackdown on “bad behavior” has been rather silly and over-reaching, mainly silencing anyone who’s a little too mean to anyone with a checkmark. Basically, they don’t want someone like Leslie Jones talking about some nobody Breitbart editor harassing her on their platform again more than they care about “toxicity”.

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Nate Fanfare
Nate Fanfare
6 years ago

But technically he has two Twitter accounts, his POTUS acct and his personal acct. I see nothing wrong his personal acct having been closed, it would not have hindered his ability to dialogue with the public.