A tweet from US President Donald Trump identifying the alleged whistleblower who helped spark his impeachment was temporarily blocked at the weekend, with Twitter blaming an ‘outage’.
In recent days, Mr Trump shared an unsubstantiated media report and a second post that appeared to name the intelligence community member.
However, the second tweet, from the president’s personal account, was not visible on Saturday to all of his 68 million followers. It was visible again on Sunday afternoon, although the original account that shared the alleged whistleblower’s name had been deleted.
“Due to an outage with one of our systems, tweets on account profiles were visible to some, but not others,” Twitter Support said. “We’re still working on fixing this and apologise for any confusion.”
A spokeswoman for the social media platform confirmed that the US president’s account was among those affected.
The spokeswoman added that, per Twitter policy, any tweets that included private information about an individual, including the alleged whistleblower, would be in violation of its rules. Names are not considered private information, she said.
I asked if this “outage” today affected many Twitter accounts, or just @realdonaldTrump‘s. The response from a Twitter spokesperson:
“The issue affected many profiles, not just one. Since some could see the tweets and others could not, it didn’t affect everyone.”
— Lois Beckett (@loisbeckett) December 29, 2019
Democrats, some Republicans, and members of the US intelligence community have strongly objected to the effort to reveal the whistleblower’s identity, calling it inappropriate and possibly illegal.
Mark Zaid, one of the whistleblower’s lawyers, said on Twitter in early November that Republicans had “sought to expose our client’s identity which could jeopardise their safety, as well as that of their family.”