In early November, for 11 fateful minutes, the most important social media account in the world vanished. Hours later, Twitter explained the president of the United States was inadvertently deactivated due to “human error” by a Twitter contractor. Donald Trump’s many critics heralded the mystery employee as a hero, concluding they had done it as an act of defiance.
But in an interview with TechCrunch, where he reveals himself for the first time, the man who brought down Trump said his extraordinary actions were a mistake and that the account should never have been deactivated. A German citizen of Turkish descent, Bahtiyar Duysak was working as a contractor for Pro Unlimited at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco in the company’s Trust and Safety division when the incident occurred. His team would receive reports when a user was flagged for harassment, impersonating others, or offensive language.
On his last day of work, an opportunity popped up on his screen—someone had reported Donald Trump. “As a final, throwaway gesture, he put the wheels in motion to deactivate it. Then he closed his computer and left the building,” TechCrunch reports. A few hours later, Duysak learned, to his complete surprise, that the steps he took to deactivate the account had worked. Trump, with his more than 40 million followers, briefly vanished from the site, causing a ripple of confusion, celebration, and shock, to spread online.
But Duysak was just as stunned as everyone else. He describes the event as a “mistake,” a “coincidence,” and said he never actually believed he had the power to take down Trump. Wearing an American flag sweater, Duysak said in the interview that he “loves America” and had a wild time in the country, “I was tired sometimes. And everyone can do mistakes. I did a mistake.” Duysak never explicitly explained his motivation for flagging the account, how the deactivation actually went through after he put in the notice, and he did not give his opinion on Donald Trump.
The young contractor said he isn’t worried about what happens next if he’s further investigated, “I didn’t hack anyone. I didn’t do anything that I was not authorized to do. I didn’t go to any site I was not supposed to go to. I didn’t break any rules.” Now that he’s revealed himself, Duysak hopes things go back to normal, away from the media, who he says is “stalking” him, “I want to speak to my neighbors, I want to speak to my friends. I had to delete hundreds of friends because reporters are stalking me. They add my friends on Facebook, I had to delete so many pictures. I just want to continue an ordinary life.”