Don't Cheer For The Twitter Employee Who Deleted Donald Trump's Account

from the that's-a-bad-thing dept

As you probably have heard, last night for a period of 11 minutes, Donald Trump's Twitter account looked like this:

Not surprisingly, lots of people noticed quickly... and, then it came back. Soon after, Twitter admitted it was "inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee." Two hours later, this message was clarified to say that "done by a Twitter customer support employee... on the employee's last day."

This, in turn, led a bunch of folks on Twitter to start gleefully praising this employee (whose name is not yet known, but likely will be soon). Because it's Twitter, and Twitter can get giddy over stuff like this, there were lots of jokes and people calling this employee a hero and whatnot. (Update: A new report says that it wasn't even a full-time employee, but a contractor).

I take a very different view on this. Earlier this year, Cathy Gellis wrote a post here explaining why it would be a bad idea to kill Trump's Twitter account. You can read that post for details, but the larger point is that under no circumstances would such a move be viewed as anything other than a political statement. Twitter more or less admitted this a few weeks back when it made a public statement saying that it considers "newsworthiness" as a factor in determining whether a tweet violates its terms. And, by definition, the President's tweets are newsworthy.

The larger question, honestly, is how the hell a customer service rep, especially one who wasn't even a full time employee, but a contractor -- on his or her last day -- had the power to simply delete the President's twitter account. You can see how things got to this point: I'm sure in the early days, just about anyone could delete someone's account on the platform. Over time, I assume that the power was limited more and more to customer service reps -- but they were still granted the power to do so if it was necessary. But it's fairly incredible that there aren't at least some controls on this -- requiring a second person's permission? Locking certain key Twitter accounts? -- that would make what this employee did impossible.

And, of course, it's raising lots of other questions. Did this customer service rep have the ability to tweet as Trump? Considering how quickly the world reacts to Trump tweets, that could create serious havoc. I'm sure we'll be hearing plenty more on this soon, and Twitter will eventually share some sort of post mortem on new processes and controls that have been put in place, but the fact that this even happened in the first place is not a cause for celebration, but one for concern about how Twitter's controls and processes work.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 10:49am

    Everyone at Twitter and Facebook are empowered to do as they please.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 11:32am

      Re:

      Which is why you should never believe either of them, or Google, when they claim that their employees don't have access to your private data.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 11:46am

        Re: Re:

        This. THIS. A thousand times this. All these operations claim to have internal controls in place, and they're all lying, lying, lying. Presume that any scrap of data or metadata that you give to Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc., will be accessible on demand to some number of their personnel.

        Some of whom, of course, are no doubt making some extra tax-free income by selling it. (Far-fetched? Please. Do you REALLY think that every single last one of the huge number of people working in these operations is immune to the temptation? Really?)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 2:56pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Oh, not only that, but people at the core of automation and orchestration usually have the tools and capability to high-jack everyone elses account and do just about anything they want with them. The only real challenge is getting away without your nefarious efforts getting logged or audited in some way. But a lot of companies are shockingly lax on auditing and logging.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2017 @ 2:16pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "and they're all lying, lying, lying."

          and this is shocking to you

          I doubt politicians know how to tell the truth as they have no idea what that word means. To them, the truth is what they say it is, not what actually happened.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 10:56am

    Can we just restore from backup?

    Say from 2002 or even 2000 then we could avoid 9/11 altogether but at least in time to stop the patriot act and the insanity of the war on reason?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 3 Nov 2017 @ 11:06am

    Twitter are idiots. So as long as it's newsworthy you can break TOS? Who decides what is and isn't newsworthy? Twit? Mike? Myself? I personally find his rants not worthy of anything.

    "had the power to simply delete the President's twitter account."
    I terminated the head of HR's AD account with a PowerShell script when I entered the user ID incorrectly. You'd be surprised how much power IT contractors get.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 11:06am

    But you hold that Twitter has the right to do it!

    You've stated that Twitter has the right to remove or restrict any person for any or no reason, denying access to the outlet, regardless of the rights of "natural" persons.

    I guess you're just disappointed that wasn't "official" by Twitter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 11:16am

      Re: But you hold that Twitter has the right to do it!

      Yes, everyone sane person holds that view.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dan (profile), 3 Nov 2017 @ 11:56am

      Re: But you hold that Twitter has the right to do it!

      Whether Twitter has the right to do it (they do), and whether it's a good idea for Twitter to do it, are two very different (and perhaps completely unrelated) things.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 3 Nov 2017 @ 11:58am

      Re: But you hold that Twitter has the right to do it!

      Yes, Mister SovCit, Twitter has that right.

      Twitter also has the right to choose who gets the privilege of exercising that right—and whether those chosen should face a punishment for abusing that privilege.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bruce C., 3 Nov 2017 @ 4:37pm

      Re: But you hold that Twitter has the right to do it!

      Operating assumption from here on out: Anyone who posts as AC, particularly with a "provocative" post, is a nation-state-backed troll.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        The Queen of England, 3 Nov 2017 @ 4:53pm

        Re: Re: But you hold that Twitter has the right to do it!

        So says the anonymous poster.
        lol

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 5:22pm

        Re: Re: But you hold that Twitter has the right to do it!

        ... Or maybe they hate having even more specific identifiers?(Despite probably being IP-logged anyways for spam purposes).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 5:31pm

        Re: Re: But you hold that Twitter has the right to do it!

        ah... the usual, if you said something I don't agree with or like... you must be a troll.

        It's cool Bruce C., there is no guarantee that you are even a human and not some college kid's lab experiment either.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2017 @ 8:04am

        Re: Re: But you hold that Twitter has the right to do it!

        Whatever makes your life easier

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Nathan F (profile), 3 Nov 2017 @ 11:09am

    For everyone insisting that Twitter should have a dual control for deleting or turning off an account, I suspect they had that at one point. However because everyone was yelling at them to be more proactive about taking down 'terrorist accounts' or 'think of the children' type issues they removed it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2017 @ 4:24am

      Re:

      Pretty much this. Most platforms these days are in the same position I was in back when I was a telemarketer. Everybody around you belongs in one of two camps. People who are angry with you for not doing what you are told efficiently enough regardless of how plausible those tasks are... and people who are angry with you for TRYING to do what you are told efficiently enough regardless of how plausible those tasks are.

      Not that I give anyone a free pass, seeing as I tend to be in the latter camp with many platforms (mostly youtube), but it is definately a rock and hard place situation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DB (profile), 3 Nov 2017 @ 11:17am

    Why would a rational person want to delete Trump's account?

    The only reason I could think of would be to stop him from embarrassing himself. And that's pointless, since the account would be certain to be quickly restored.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 2:05pm

      Re: Why would a rational person want to delete Trump's account?

      Considering for a time he was advocating genocide on twitter, I'd say it'd be a service to protecting the county to delete his account.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        DB (profile), 3 Nov 2017 @ 3:48pm

        Re: Re: Why would a rational person want to delete Trump's account?

        Here a question to ponder.

        A person is displaying a Nazi flag in their window. Should that be banned? Why?

        Isn't it better to know the attitudes of the person up front? Especially when they aren't... typical.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 3:53pm

          Re: Re: Re: Why would a rational person want to delete Trump's account?

          "A person is displaying a Nazi flag in their window. Should that be banned? Why?"

          Because you should be forced to "respect" my bullshit while I get to call your bullshit, well... bullshit!

          Don't worry, I am very fair and unbiased, I don't have a racist bone in my body while I call you the same... it's really for your own good ya know!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 9:46pm

          Re: Re: Re: Why would a rational person want to delete Trump's account?

          "displaying a Nazi flag in their window"

          Real good idea - let us know how that works out

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    afn29129 (profile), 3 Nov 2017 @ 11:18am

    Last day at work....

    It might be his/her last day at work because of other mis-conduct. Terminated with cause? For whatever reason it was his/her last day that is no good reason to act childishly, ever! My money is on 'Another snowflake melted.'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 3 Nov 2017 @ 12:27pm

      Re: Last day at work....

      So, your theory is that they told a worker they were firing him for misconduct, but that he could stick around for a few days with an active admin account?

      What industry do you work in, Mr. 29129 -- do you mind if I call you Afn? I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess "not IT."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        afn29129 (profile), 3 Nov 2017 @ 3:36pm

        Re: Re: Last day at work....

        Don't need to repeat what I said. It's there for you to read, read again, read again again if need be. None of your business what I do or did for a living. Did my initial post just 'trigger' you? It sure sound like it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 5:26pm

      Re: Last day at work....

      I think it was for the satisfaction of it not being there; probably made them sincerely happy for that 11 whole minutes.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2017 @ 8:06am

      Re: Last day at work....

      'Another snowflake melted.'

      Hmmm - must've been a trump supporter then

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    aethercowboy (profile), 3 Nov 2017 @ 11:22am

    This redefines covfefe!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Oblate (profile), 3 Nov 2017 @ 11:23am

    Was it even anti-Trump?

    Were I a Trump supporter, I would be thrilled to see his Twitter account voluntarily disabled in the hopes that he would use a more dignified method of communications (as he seemingly can't use Twitter in a dignified manner). As it is, I appreciate (but don't follow) his Twitter account for the combination of humor and horror that it unintentionally provides. Either way, Trump, as a U.S. citizen, has the right to express himself however he wants to and supporters and detractors should condemn moves like this. Anyone who supports this can't complain when the same thing happens to their preferred politician.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 3 Nov 2017 @ 12:00pm

      Re: Was it even anti-Trump?

      Trump, as a U.S. citizen, has the right to express himself however he wants

      He does not, however, have the right to force Twitter into hosting his speech.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 12:07pm

        Re: Re: Was it even anti-Trump?

        Are you claiming that Trump is somehow forcing Twitter to host his channel against their will?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 1:34pm

          Re: Re: Re: Was it even anti-Trump?

          Are you claiming that Trump is somehow forcing Twitter to host his channel against their will?

          Are you claiming someone said he was?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 3 Nov 2017 @ 6:29pm

          Re: Re: Re: Was it even anti-Trump?

          No, although the idea had crossed my mind.

          Twitter admins could suspend or ban Trump from the service at any time they see fit. If they did so, however, Twitter could then slam into a wall of potential legal ramifications that it may not want to deal with—including the hashing out of whether they actually have the right to suspend or ban an official line of communication from a government employee. Thus an argument could be made that, by becoming the POTUS, Donald Trump has effectively—albeit unintentionally—forced Twitter to host his speech for at least the duration of his time in office.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 3 Nov 2017 @ 12:29pm

      Re: Was it even anti-Trump?

      If you were a Trump supporter, I suspect you would have a very different threshold for undignified behavior.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 5:29pm

        Re: Re: Was it even anti-Trump?

        This also says a lot about how dignified you care to be with someone that has a differing opinion.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 5:32pm

          Re: Re: Re: Was it even anti-Trump?

          Thad and dignified are not a pair of words that mix together well.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Rapnel (profile), 3 Nov 2017 @ 11:29am

    Disagree. For one it's Twitter so apart from some rep points what is the actual, real value of fine-grained access controls that would justify their costs? Secondly, it's Twitter. It's pretty clear account handling is somewhere near the root of the actual purpose of their operations. Thirdly, any IT access to a user based operation necessarily includes tools and methods to manipulate your platform and the components within it, contractor or not. Lastly, the piece seem to have a somewhat idyllic and idealistic view of what's possible, much less reasonable, regarding procedure, process and operations in any tech with scale. As a bonus it's just IT. Any savvy player with access is ever only a few steps removed from being able to create or destroy just about anything.

    And so I will cheer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 3 Nov 2017 @ 12:33pm

      Re:

      Disagree. For one it's Twitter so apart from some rep points what is the actual, real value of fine-grained access controls that would justify their costs?

      We're seeing it right now. We're one disgruntled contractor away from mass account deletion. While this was quickly reversed, it's embarrassing, and Twitter has plenty of money woes and PR difficulties without additional embarrassments.

      Any savvy player with access is ever only a few steps removed from being able to create or destroy just about anything.

      And so I will cheer.

      I can appreciate it as a prank that didn't really hurt anybody and made a political statement. But it's a pretty clear breach of professional ethics.

      I wouldn't want somebody who fucks with user accounts for political reasons as an admin. On the other hand, I wouldn't want Donald Trump as a user.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 12:45pm

        Re: Re:

        We're pretty much always one disgruntled system admin away from mass account deletion. That has not, nor will ever change. Ultimately someone has to have the keys to the kingdom otherwise stuff doesn't get done.

        And honestly, Twitter could decide tomorrow to just shut down and then all accounts would be gone for good. Disgruntled contractor/admin or not.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 3:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "We're pretty much always one disgruntled system admin away from mass account deletion."

          also one idiot IT person too. I have been part of environments were I had to recover from some amazing stupid fuck ups. People deleting massive numbers of accounts, People reformatting computers with automation tools gone awry, people improperly configuring RAID 0 on databases that hold mission critical data, massive power failure because someone did not know the proper order of shutdown to transfer UPS power.... yea... we have more than enough trouble with just the tards... malicious is entirely another problem.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            AzureSky (profile), 3 Nov 2017 @ 10:45pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            was once turned down for a job in favor of a guy straight out of college, got a call a week later, asking if i could come in, they may have a job for me after all....

            the idiot used an idiots guide book, to "optimize" the server.....using examples that clearly stated they where just examples, and, they didnt have a backup that was less then 90days old... of anything.....

            i had to get 3 old servers running and restore the backups to them....and copy the settings over (old tape backup system, it took 2 days to restore the systems....gods tape sucks...lol....)

            but yeah...that was fun, i worked for them for 2 weeks, they got me whatever i asked for for lunch/dinner, and when i was done, they offered me the job rather then just the contract work to fix the fuckup...told them to get fukt i didnt want to work for people who hired somebody who, openly admitted he wasnt qualified and would rather have worked for me...before they hired him...the manager who i dealt with most of that time, said "good choice" and gave me a sealed letter that had an extra 500bucks, a bunch of gift cert books for fast food.... and a letter telling me to go to an address, and ask for a person and give them the letter....worked for that place for 3 years till the owner sold the place to a guy who was, pretty much, a used car salesman, selling networked projector/audio/lighting/etc setups and installs..we did that stuff as well as other shit, the guy was just to shady and creepy for me.....way to touchy with young girls....i got another job that was alot closer to home, paid less but had better benefits then we had after that idiot bought the place... so all in all, it worked out... and i ended up doing contract work for that other company a few more times, only because the manager who got me the job, and was brother in law to the former owner of that business asked, made good money, and always got a bonus at the end... hell once also got a bunch of servers and desktops they had replaced given to me on top of the cash bonus.... that they called a "disposal fee" turned around and got them all cleaned and setup with fresh os's, and sold or gave them away (the pos p4 desktops all got given away with vector linux installed on them...as it was the best linux option for that specific hardware...and unlike windows, was actually useable..)

            bah, way to long a post, but yeah, i have seen WAY WAY WAY more issues with idiots fucking shit up, when you combine that with malice, well....its sort of the perfect storm of stupid... "never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence" but, i always add "but never discount that incompetence and malice are often not exclusive"

            sometimes, i have also found, incompetence caused by malice... for example, the employee who hates their employer and dosnt take proper care when doing their job, and as a result costs the company money rather then generating it.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 5:31pm

        Re: Re:

        A software service engineer shouldn't care who uses that service, so long as it's useful to someone. Any tool can be used for crime or offense, so why should someone discriminate?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 12:42pm

      Re:

      Going to have to agree with Rapnel and actually disagree with TD for once. Should it have happened? No, definitely an abuse of power. But that's kind of how IT works, ultimately, someone is God in the system, sometimes it's just one person, sometimes it's multiple people. IT has to work that way because at the end of the day, somebody has to have the power to get things done.

      Having had some experience in IT and contractor work, contractors are generally given far more system access than they need. Why? Laziness for one, it's easier to give them a temp admin account than try to figure out exactly what they will and will not need access to. Not saying this is good IT practice (it's not, it's really bad IT practice) but it happens pretty frequently. And if you don't give them the access they need on the first try, many times they go whining to the CEO or owner and then your day gets really crappy.

      I will agree that it probably isn't such a good idea to shut down his Twitter account just so we can keep an eye on what he says/does. Like Twitter said, it's newsworthy. That doesn't mean I don't wish he would just shut up already.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 1:40pm

        Re: Re:

        contractors are generally given far more system access than they need.

        What makes you think that was the case in this case?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 2:28pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Not saying it was. Just that it's a possibility.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 5:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Just got a hard-on for contractors, huh? Did one take your job?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              orbitalinsertion (profile), 4 Nov 2017 @ 3:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Doubtful. it's just a simple fact that access control can be difficult, and is frequently done poorly. Contractors as a group a frequently given more access than they need.

              What is really stupid about your statement is that the original AC put the onus on those who were in charge if giving them excessive access, whether that is an IT lazy mistake or a managerial lazy decision.

              So, why, are you a contractor? (Since this thread has a nice populations of questions which are "just questions".)

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2017 @ 9:30pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Contractors as a group a frequently given more access than they need.

                Employees as a group are frequently given more access than they need.

                Contractor got your job too?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 6 Nov 2017 @ 1:26am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  You seem to be extremely sensitive about people criticising contractors and the amount of access they are granted.

                  Did you get passed over for a permanent position?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2017 @ 8:10am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It's also possible that alien lizard people have taken over our internets. I think they are living inside our tubes, as the internet is not a big truck.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Padpaw (profile), 4 Nov 2017 @ 1:46pm

        Re: Re:

        Isn't it easier to avoid what trump says if he uses twitter as opposed to some other form of medium? Since you don't have to read his twitter

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 6 Nov 2017 @ 1:38am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The problem is that lots of other venues report on what he's said via Twitter, and the short-form nature of Twitter always seems to guarantee that he will say something outlandishly stupid (and thus newsworthy). Whether he's making up new words, screaming at people to "DO SOMETHING" or causing international incidents, you can't avoid his nonsense just by not using Twitter yourself.

          It would certainly be easier to avoid what he says if he were restricted to venues that either required some pre-vetting of what he says or encouraged some level of decorum. With Twitter, he can spout whatever nonsense occurs to him during his 3am toilet visit and have it reported upon around the world before his staff can invent a reasonable defense (which they're not particularly good at composing to begin with).

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 11:40am

    So does free speech belong to the users or the platform owners? Techdirt can't seem to make up its mind.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dan (profile), 3 Nov 2017 @ 11:59am

      Re:

      Free speech belongs to everyone. The right to use someone else's platform for your own speech belongs to nobody. These truths do not contradict each other, but neither is relevant to this story.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 12:30pm

        Re: Re:

        They do contradict when the argument is that Twitter should restrict it's own speech (ToS) to appease that of the most powerful state actor, POTUS.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Dan (profile), 3 Nov 2017 @ 2:22pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          What they should do, and what they have a right to do, are orthogonal questions. This isn't complicated.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 3 Nov 2017 @ 6:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          What Twitter can do—what it has the right to do—is a matter of objective fact.

          What you, I, or anyone else thinks Twitter should do is a matter of subjective opinion.

          Please learn the difference before you attempt to argue this point again.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            orbitalinsertion (profile), 4 Nov 2017 @ 3:57pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Some people prefer to argue by implying things which make no sense. This works on people who operate the same way. Also, they then like to project that behavior onto others.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 3:55pm

        Re: Re:

        Interested in your position on the NFL players taking a knee during the nation anthem.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 6 Nov 2017 @ 1:39am

      Re:

      Both, though your wilful ignorance does seem to confuse you on the subject.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 11:46am

    Just more fuel for the Fox News bonfire.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    anonymous today, 3 Nov 2017 @ 11:59am

    that user

    I wonder if the feds can execute him for character assasination?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sorrykb (profile), 3 Nov 2017 @ 12:02pm

    aw... You're no fun anymore.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, 3 Nov 2017 @ 12:07pm

    Cathy Gellis is wrong about this

    Twitter should have axed Trump's account a long time ago, by applying its ToS in re threats/abuse as it would to anyone else. "Newsworthy" does not excuse abuse in this context any more than it does elsewhere. It's simply a euphemism for "helps drive our profits", which is obviously Twitter's only value and only goal.

    The problem is that Twitter has completely lost control of its own operation. They have no idea how to run their service and are too arrogant to admit it (not to mention too scared of what such an admission would do to profits). If they actually had a *minimal* level of competence and diligence in the area of abuse control, Trump's account would have been gone a long time ago -- along with MANY others.

    But that's not what's happened. And as an article today points out ( https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-03/former-twitter-employee-says-fake-russian-account s-were-not-taken-seriously ) there's a reason why: profits.

    Twitter is now completely overrun with bots, fake accounts, doxing, threats, and other forms of abuse because it failed to deal with these things effectively when they first started -- when both the scope and scale were manageable. One of the very first lessons of effective abuse control is that you MUST take early action, because if you wait, you may find that you can't -- or that it's much harder. This isn't news to anybody who's been paying attention for the last 25 years, but apparently nobody at Twitter could be bothered to learn even the basics and/or apply them.

    Twitter is managed by spineless cowards and operated by ignorant newbies. Top to bottom, it's a shitpile, and the best thing for the Internet -- and arguably, for the US -- would be to disconnect it, shut it down, pull the power cables, turn out the lights, lock the doors, and go home. Maybe, MAYBE, somebody out there has what it takes to design, build, and operate a similar service -- and perhaps that would be a good thing. And if so, Twitter will serve as a model: a model of exactly what not to do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Mason Wheeler, 3 Nov 2017 @ 12:25pm

      Re: Cathy Gellis is wrong about this

      As I've said before, "by Twits, for Twits."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 12:35pm

      Re: Cathy Gellis is wrong about this

      Twitter is famous for the double standards with which it applies the ToS. Banning Trump for ToS violations would just verify the partisan way in which Twitter operates, which is why they won't do it. Can't be effective propaganda if everyone knows you're propaganda.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 3 Nov 2017 @ 6:40pm

        Re: Re: Cathy Gellis is wrong about this

        Banning Trump for ToS violations would just verify the partisan way in which Twitter operates

        Oh, you mean like how Twitter will not ban trolls and harassers, but will shadowban or suspend people who insult those trolls and harassers? I should know—I identify as liberal, and I got dinged with a 24-hour suspension for cussing in a tweet directed at a Verified Account™.

        But if you still think Twitter is in the bag for liberals, you should know this: The big Twitter news today was its rollout of new guidelines about (among other things) pornographic material. Parts of those new rules read like a 19th century Victorian priest wrote them—which would make those rules far more aligned with conservatives than with liberals.

        Twitter consistently handles its internal policies in an inconsistent way. To believe otherwise is to believe Twitter admins give a shit about anything other than making money by making sure Twitter looks busy.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rich Kulawiec, 4 Nov 2017 @ 5:19am

        Re: Re: Cathy Gellis is wrong about this

        Twitter isn't operated in order to further anyone's partisan agenda.

        Twitter is operated to maximize profits.

        It's easy to view any individual Twitter decision through the lens of one's own politics, but that's a mistake. Take a wider view, and it becomes abundantly obvious that there's no particular pattern of support of anyone or anything. What there IS, is a service completely out of control, far beyond the meager abilities of the inexperienced people running it -- people who are now desperately flailing to conceal just how bad it really is, and are thus compounding their incompetence and negligence with hasty, poor decisions.

        It's too late. It's much, much too late for Twitter. They built something that they have no idea how to run, and did such a horrible job of it that it was easy for third parties to co-opt it for their own ends. Now they're frantically trying to conceal that and to pretend that by belatedly slapping band-aid after band-aid on their myriad problems they can somehow magically solve them.

        Ummm, no.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Scorah, 3 Nov 2017 @ 12:36pm

    Mike you are an admin here correct? Can you post a new post as Tim Cushing? Bearing in mind even as an admin of an old school message board, I could edit or delete anyone's posts that already exist, however I couldn't post on their behalf. I'd need their password. Given twitter doesn't even have an edit option it seems even less credible that a customer service worker could post as someone else. Of course there are questions to be asked about the choice of font where a capital I appears the same as an l for easy impersonation, and to some extent rn looking like an m.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      stine, 3 Nov 2017 @ 10:05pm

      Re: posting as another user

      Its simple, even in a system controlled by MS Active Directory, the only thing you have to be aware of is that changing the password, and then resetting it to what it was originally are going to be logged, so even if you accomplish it, you're still going to get noticed (unless you also restore the logs, and they were only stored locally)

      I haven't done this in more than a decade, but it used to be rather simple.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2017 @ 1:57pm

    Probably did it for publicity

    Seems to me the person probably did it for personal gain.
    Considering that 99% of the media hates Trump with the heat of a thousand suns, and so does most of Tech and Hollywood, this person will soon be declared a hero, do the Talk-show circuit, be hailed as a brave champion of progressive rights and get dozens of high paying job offers.
    At least if his/her/zee's plan to get their name out there works out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 3 Nov 2017 @ 7:00pm

      Re: Probably did it for publicity

      Seems to me the person probably did it for personal gain.

      Considering how he no longer has a job, how he will probably face a shitload of legal charges related to the CFAA, how his search for his fifteen minutes of fame will mean next-to-nothing in the long run, and how his actions have now led to an internal review from Twitter that will likely prevent someone else from taking the exact same action…he choose poorly.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2017 @ 8:12am

      Re: Probably did it for publicity

      "Seems to me the person probably did it for personal gain."

      Nah - it was for the lolz

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bruce C., 3 Nov 2017 @ 4:49pm

    Meanwhile, back on topic...

    I can most assuredly laud this person as a merry-prankster, since this ended up being no harm/no foul other than yet another round of weird publicity about Trump's Twitter account.

    But yeah, take free speech seriously folks. In order to protect the rights of the weak and powerless, we have to protect the rights of those who offend us with their speech.
    The tools we craft to suppress offensive speech surely will be used to achieve other goals. First, against the weak and powerless, and then against all of us. After all no matter how many people get jailed or disappeared, there's still about half the population that is politically weaker than average.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2017 @ 8:16am

      Re: Meanwhile, back on topic...

      Rather than enforcing rules that stipulate what people are allowed to say, perhaps education would be more efficient. If people understood why certain speech is unwelcome perhaps they would reconsider their choices .... one second thought, that would never happen.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2017 @ 5:08am

    Trump's More Equal?

    "But it's fairly incredible that there aren't at least some controls on this -- requiring a second person's permission? Locking certain key Twitter accounts?"

    'Cuz, like, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others," right?

    Thanks, no - I'll cheer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Kay (profile), 8 Nov 2017 @ 6:56am

      Re: Trump's More Equal?

      That's not why he said that some accounts should be locked.

      The reason he said that is because some accounts, due to their importance or the controversy associated with them, are going to be more likely to be messed with than others.

      It's not because Trump is more deserving of protection. It's because those accounts are more susceptible to employee abuse... the thing the story is about.

      I think the question of whether an employee can send tweets under someone else's Twitter account is pretty fascinating, though. Undoubtedly this is possible for at least some of the staff at Twitter...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 8 Nov 2017 @ 7:27am

        Re: Re: Trump's More Equal?

        "It's because those accounts are more susceptible to employee abuse... the thing the story is about."

        Exactly, just as Wikipedia locks articles that are potentially controversial, only people with certain levels of trust should be able to access certain accounts at Twitter. I'd say this should be at minimum supervisors and above only having access to "trusted" accounts, as these are important enough for the company to have put work into verifying the identity of the owner. Most other types of companies won't let front line CS staff have admin control over customer accounts, so why here? Apart from the relative lack of risk (no payment/IRL addressing info involved), that would be a huge problem normally.

        As much of a childish giggle it is for Trump to be shown the risks of depending on a non-government platform for his insane rambling, it is concerning that a low level contractor apparently has the ability to disable accounts on a whim. Doubly so on the last day of employment (the most likely day a person will use to take out grudges).

        "the question of whether an employee can send tweets under someone else's Twitter account is pretty fascinating"

        Not really. Impersonating a client is possible at pretty much any company that has its own software/databases/etc. Be it through root access to systems, ability to clone & modify production data, etc., someone high enough or tricky enough can do this.

        The real question is whether or not they can get away with it, and whether the price and risk of being caught is worth anyone doing reward is worth the risk. Every company will have at least some people who have root access to the system and the ability to do this, they just don't generally do it.

        If a CS agent has that ability, there's major problem, but there will always be *someone* who can do such things if they don't care too much about potential consequences.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mike, 4 Nov 2017 @ 7:01am

    twits

    The author is wrong. The employee(?) made a political statement using the medium that Trump favours. It was a well deserved smack to the (smeg) head.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 4 Nov 2017 @ 1:41pm

    Better to let a fool talk than to make a martyr of them. Best way to make people you disagree with stop talking is to let them talk so much no one wants to listen to what they say.

    I am happy someone else gets it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2017 @ 9:37pm

      Re:

      Unfortunately history has shown that does not work. Sometimes they even become leaders of nations. How quickly they forget.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John E Cressman, 6 Nov 2017 @ 6:07am

    Trust?

    Trust No One Mr Mulder. Truer now than it was then.

    At some point, the government will classify things like Twitter and Facebook as public utilities and regulate them because of things like this.

    Let's face it, I'm guessing more people use twitter than use hard lines and hard lines (phone lines) are public utilities.

    The fact that some nameless contractor has that sort of power should SCARE people. Not just from a twitter standpoint... but Google search results... facebook pages... youtube videos... etc. One person can decided your fate. And if they CAN post as you... think of the chaos.

    Imagine if some political hack wannabe at twitter decided to tweet something like "Tomorrow we're going to nuke Rocket Man (North Korea)."

    Imagine what could happen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 6:46am

      Re: Trust?

      >Let's face it, I'm guessing more people use twitter than use hard lines and hard lines (phone lines) are public utilities.

      And the phone line regulations say that they let anybody phone anybody else, and say what they want. So they are already trying to impose more control over what people can say on social media that what they can communicate over the phone.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 6 Nov 2017 @ 9:43am

    Personal versus government account

    Changing the subject slightly: I think one issue to consider is that Trump is still tweeting from his personal account, not the official @POTUS account. I hope that Twitter has more restrictions on who can and can't access official government accounts, but until Trump uses the official POTUS account, then his account is subject to the same terms as everyone else's.
    Sure, Twitter might not delete his tweets because they're "newsworthy", but they obviously didn't change the employee access. So, technically, anyone else "on their last day" could also switch off Trump's account at any time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 1:38pm

    Bitter Hillary Clinton supporter deletes Donald Trump's Twitter account in his/her last day at the company.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 9 Nov 2017 @ 7:33am

      Re:

      The enemy of your enemy ain't always your friend. I dislike them both, for the record; Trump because he's a boorish, ignorant prat and Clinton because she's a neocon war hawk. Both are in the bag for corporations at the expense of natural persons. THIS is why partisanship is nonsense. Give it up!

      Kang and Kodos may be different in some ways but in others they are very much the same.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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