Bahtiyar Dusyak, a former Banking and Finance student at the University of Birmingham, has hit the headlines for being revealed as the man behind President Trump’s Twitter deactivation.
Dusyak, originally from Germany, studied his undergrad at Birmingham, moving to the US to finish his post-grad in California.
Dusyak was employed as a temporary worker on the customer support team in San Francisco when the incident occurred on the 2nd November. It was Dusyak’s last day working for the firm when he made a throwaway comment about how Trump’s account should be shut down due to a stream of complaints against anti-Islamic comments the President had made via his Twitter account.
This led to an eleven-minute long deactivation of the President’s account, causing international uproar. Other employees at Twitter have explained how easy it is to shut an account down, describing how technical know-how isn’t particularly necessary to shut down an account. Allegedly, there were talks of changing protocol for verified accounts, making it more difficult to shut them down. However, these suggestions were never put into practice, perhaps explaining why Trump’s account was so easy to dismantle.
At present, the customer support software has been described as a ‘dashboard’ where, with just one click, any customer support employee can shut down any account.
It’s unclear whether Dusyak actually shut the account down himself, although he has come out in support of his suggestions, stating they were well within company protocol:
“…Everyone can do mistakes. I think it’s all about a number of coincidences.”
“I didn’t hack anyone. I didn’t do anything I wasn’t authorised to do. I underline that I didn’t break any rules.”
It has been speculated that Dusyak’s encouragement to dismantle the President’s account came after Trump’s string of Anti-Islamic tweets and policy proposals – especially the travel ban placed upon citizens from Muslim countries. Dusyak has previously been described as very political by friends as well as having ties to Islam. Dusyak used to volunteer as a security guard at a Muslim Community Centre in California and has come out in strong support of refugees fleeing to the US.
Twitter were contacted on several occasions for a comment. After much reluctance, a Twitter spokesperson released this statement on the 29th November:
“We won’t have a comment on a former employee. We have taken a number of steps to keep an incident like this from happening again. In order to protect our internal security measures, we don’t have further details to share at this time.”