Bahtiyar Duysak, a 20-something native of Germany who is of Turkish origin, told TechCrunch in an interview that he was responsible for the outage of Trump’s Twitter account. He had worked for Twitter’s Trust and Safety operations team starting in July 2017 through Pro Unlimited, a staffing agency catering to the tech industry, before he left in November.
According to Duysak, on his last day working at Twitter, a user had flagged Trump’s account for a violation of its rules. Duysak then initiated action to deactivate @realDonaldTrump, but claimed in the interview with TechCrunch that he never believed it would actually get disabled — calling the incident a “mistake.”
As a result, @realDonaldTrump went dark for an 11-minute period on Nov. 2. Twitter quickly restored Trump’s account, which it said at the time was “inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee.”
Twitter has declined to confirm Duysak as the culprit. “We have taken a number of steps to keep an incident like this from happening again,” a company rep said in a statement to Variety. “To protect our internal security measures, we don’t have further details to share at this time.”
In addition to his stint at Twitter via Pro Unlimited, Duysak had worked for a short time at Google and YouTube through Vaco, another third-party contracting firm, per his LinkedIn page. Duysak has since moved back to Germany, according to the TechCrunch report. Duysak has a master’s degree in banking and finance from the U.K.’s University of Birmingham and completed a postgraduate program at Cal State University, BuzzFeed reported.
On Nov. 2, Trump detractors had immediately hailed the heretofore unidentified Twitter staffer as a folk hero for disabling the president’s account, if ever so briefly.
Critics have argued that Trump routinely violates Twitter terms of service by engaging in personal attacks and promoting violence, among other things. In September, Twitter said that it allows certain content to remain on the service — even if a tweet otherwise violates its rules — if there is “a legitimate public interest in its availability.”