Call him a hero or call him a villain, Bahtiyar Duysak earlier this month accomplished something no one else had ever been able to do: shut Donald Trump up on Twitter.
For eleven famous minutes on November 2, Trump’s Twitter account went dark. For eleven minutes, there was no @realdonaldtrump. For eleven minutes, there was no war of words with Kim Jong Un, no attacks on rogue Republican senators. Nothing. And then, on the twelfth minute, things went back to the way they were. Chaos ensued.
As the internet rejoiced or recoiled, depending on your perspective, Twitter reacted quickly, at first saying the account deactivation was a mistake, and then a short while later admitting that a contractor on his last day had shut Trump’s Twitter down. That man, according to TechCrunch, is Bahtiyar Duysak.
Duysak is a German twentysomething with Turkish roots that TechCrunch tracked down in Germany, beating out many other news outlets that had been on his trail. He’d been working at Twitter as a customer support contractor on the company’s Trust and Safety team. On his last day at Twitter, November 2, “someone reported Trump’s account,” TechCrunch wrote. “As a final, throwaway gesture, he put the wheels in motion to deactivate it. Then he closed his computer and left the building.”
Earlier today @realdonaldtrump’s account was inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee. The account was down for 11 minutes, and has since been restored. We are continuing to investigate and are taking steps to prevent this from happening again.
— Twitter Government (@TwitterGov) November 3, 2017
Please get the departing Twitter employee who deactivated Donald Trump’s account on their last day a medal, a knighthood, a magnum of champagne and a small tropical island.
— misery magnet (@ElenaBjxrn) November 3, 2017
Now, he says it was all a “mistake,” and that he didn’t actually imagine Trump’s account would be shut down: Even though though Trump’s tweets have apparently violated anti-harassment policies that would typically result in a users’ suspension, the president’s messages are protected under a Twitter policy that considers them “newsworthy.” In fact, says Duysak, he didn’t do anything technically wrong.
“I didn’t hack anyone. I didn’t do anything that I was not authorized to do… I didn’t go to any site I was not supposed to go to. I didn’t break any rules.”
Regardless, Twitter now says it’s taken steps to ensure that something like this can’t happen again. To some people, that’s a real shame. For giving Twitter those eleven minutes of peace, Duysak is a true hero.