Just before 7 p.m. EDT yesterday, Twitter users noticed a strange phenomenon. When they went to visit Donald Trump’s Twitter page (@realDonaldTrump, in case you didn’t know and also didn’t wish to preserve your glorious ignorance), they found that it was gone. It didn’t exist. It was no more.
Naturally, when the vast majority of Twitter heard about this development, a celebration ensued. “Finally,” they said. “Finally, Twitter grew a spine and deleted the account of the person most likely to use their service to actually start a war spanning the globe.”
But it wasn’t to last. Less than 15 minutes elapsed before Twitter had the president’s account back up and running.
Apparently, this was not an intentional political stand by Twitter, but the actions of one rogue employee—one defiant, dashing, heroic and presumably very handsome rogue employee. In another amusing twist, Twitter announced that the employee deleted Trump’s account on their last day of work at the social media network.
Most Twitter users responded to the news that one employee had been behind the deletion by asking if they had an Amazon wishlist or a GoFundMe they could donate to. Twitter users with “Deplorable” in their username weren’t as kind.
While these golden 11 minutes free of Trump’s tweets were, in the end, nothing but a blip on the political news radar, perhaps the most interesting thing about them is that they point to deep divisions within Twitter itself.
Twitter has long been criticized for its complete and total failure to address harassment on its website. Neo-Nazis and other hate accounts have long been able to easily prosper under Twitter’s obvious willingness to ignore its own safety guidelines. One of the most powerful men in the world regularly uses their service to threaten people and entire nations with violence, and they do nothing. But this incident shows that some at Twitter are as fed up with this as Twitter users are. Whoever this employee was, the deletion of Trump’s account was a clear statement of contempt for him and for Twitter. And how lovely it was.