December 11, 2017 / 3:50 PM / a month ago

Ex-contractor says he shut Trump's Twitter account by accident

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The contractor who shut down Donald Trump’s Twitter account has told Reuters he did so by mistake, but says he believes some of the U.S. president’s recent tweets breach the social network’s ban on hate speech.

Bahtiyar Duysak, 28, said he clicked “a few wrong things which I shouldn’t have done” on Nov. 2, his last day at Twitter, causing Trump’s @realDonaldTrump account - which has 44 million followers - to be taken offline for 11 minutes.

At the time, Twitter blamed a customer support employee on their last day at work and has since said it has taken steps to prevent such an incident happening again. Trump blamed a “rogue employee” for the temporary loss of his account.

In an interview in Frankfurt, Duysak told Reuters he wasn’t paying attention when a complaint came in an hour before he was to leave Twitter’s San Francisco office for the last time, after cutting short a six-month assignment.

He thought he was dealing with one of many fake Trump accounts.

“You should always double-check things before taking an action,” Duysak told Reuters Television.

Bahtiyar Duysak, former temporary worker at Twitter poses during an interview at the Reuters office in Frankfurt, Germany December 8, 2017. Picture taken December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

Twitter has not confirmed whether Duysak was the ex-employee responsible. The company declined to comment on Duysak’s actions or its investigation into the matter when contacted by Reuters.

Duysak said that some of Trump’s posts since the incident - in particular his retweeting of anti-Islamic videos posted by a British far-right fringe group - were a breach of Twitter’s rules banning hate speech.

Bahtiyar Duysak, former temporary worker at Twitter poses during an interview at the Reuters office in Frankfurt, Germany December 8, 2017. Picture taken December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

“You don’t need to be an expert to understand that a policy violation has happened, that the rules were broken and that this can lead to hatred being spread,” he said.

Twitter said it had no comment, and the White House did not respond to a request for comment.

After stints at Youtube and Google, Duysak joined Twitter as a safety policy operations agent on July 24, according to correspondence seen by Reuters. The job involved checking violations of Twitter’s rules that could not be dealt with by its automatic computer systems.

Duysak, born in Germany to a family of Turkish origin, left the United States a few days after the incident and returned to his home town of Paderborn. He said he had hired a lawyer who liaised with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and assured him he had no case to answer.

He said he had apologized to, and made peace with, Twitter.

Additional reporting by David Ingram in San Francisco; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Kevin Liffey

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