Friday 15 December 2017

Twitter suspends account of its own chief executive Jack Dorsey

Twitter and Square guru Jack Dorsey
Twitter and Square guru Jack Dorsey

James Titcomb

Twitter has long been criticised for not doing enough to ban offensive accounts, but the social network swung a little too far in the opposite direction on Wednesday morning when it briefly suspended its own chief executive.

Jack Dorsey’s account was suspended for around half an hour before being restored at around 5.15am UK time. His follower count also fell dramatically from almost 4 million to less than 150.

Dorsey tweeted that the suspension was an “internal mistake”, and said he was “just setting up my twttr… again”, a reference to Dorsey’s and Twitter’s first tweet.

Suspensions are a drastic move taken by Twitter when accounts are repeatedly found to be breaking rules about spam or abusive behaviour, or if they appear to have been hacked. Last week, it suspended a number of prominent accounts associated with the “alt-Right” movement, and earlier this year banned the provocative Donald Trump-supporting British journalist Milo Yiannopoulos.

There doesn’t appear to have been any attempt to hack Dorsey’s account, although any intrusion would represent a significant financial risk to Twitter, since the chief executive often makes announcements on the social network directly. A tweet announcing he was stepping down, or putting the company up for sale, would have major market consequences.

Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg’s Twitter account was accessed, but the hackers' only message said they were “just testing” his security.

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