On Tuesday evening, shortly before 8:00 p.m. eastern time, Donald Trump’s Twitter account ceased to exist for 11 whole, blessed minutes. Once the account was restored, the Twitter Government account was quick to issue a statement that the account had been “inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee” and that they were (sadly) investigating to take steps to prevent it from happening again.
A breakout of gleeful reactions aside, that would have probably been the end of it except that two hours later, the account once again tweeted that “Through our investigation we have learned that this was done by a Twitter customer support employee who did this on the employee’s last day,” adding that they were “conducting a full internal review.” Pretty much immediately, the employee in question was championed as a hero.
But who is it? Nobody has come forward to take credit yet, but according to the New York Times, two sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity have revealed that the employee was not full-time, but a contractor. And unfortunately for Twitter, this opens up a whole other can of worms for the social media platform.
The discovery highlights a difficult issue for Twitter, as well as other technology companies that rely on large amounts of contract workers to handle sensitive work. Facebook, Twitter and other companies outsource content review to third-party services like ProUnlimited and Cognizant, which are essentially internet call centers staffed with hundreds of workers who deal with customer service issues.
As both Facebook and Twitter are hiring more people to help crack down on misuse of their platforms and review flagged content, both companies will be relying heavily on third-party contractors. And with hundreds of employees already reportedly with access to high profile accounts, this could only be the start of Twitter’s headaches.
(Via The New York Times)