In Depth

Trump's Twitter account deactivated - and other last-day revenge stories

The US president's profile was brought down for 11 minutes by a Twitter employee on their final day of work

Late last night, Donald Trump made one of the most surprising moves of his unpredictable presidency: he took down his Twitter account and fell silent.

As it turned out, however, the 11-minute deactivation of his account, was not the US president’s own work, but rather, that of a disgruntled Twitter employee who had deactivated the account on their last day of work.

During the short outage, some anti-Trump Twitter users rejoiced:

Employees committing acts of sabotage on their final day is nothing new. Here are some of the most amusing - and the most petty:

Wandering Ws

Shortly after George W. Bush was elected in 2000, White House employees discovered that staffers working under his predecessor, Bill Clinton, had either removed or broken the “W” keys on all computer keyboards in the West Wing.

At the time, ABC News described it as “a critical problem”, considering Bush’s middle name is Walker - often abbreviated to simply W.

When asked his reaction, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer replied: “It would have been ‘wow’. But the W was removed, so now it’s just, ‘oh’.”

Blues of the World

Newspapers often find themselves on the receiving end of last-day pranks, due to the ease with which writers can hide secret messages in text.

When The News of the World was shut down in 2011 after 168 years of circulation in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, the publication’s journalists vented their anger at editor Rebekah Brooks in the crossword.

“Disaster”, “tart”, “menace”, “stench” and “racket” were among the answers in the paper’s last edition, writes The Guardian, while the cryptic clues included “Woman stares wildly at calamity”, “criminal enterprise”, “repel odd change that’s regretted” and “mix in prison”.

Slip sliding away

In 2010, Steven Slater quit his job as a JetBlue flight attendant in the most spectacular fashion, by grabbing a couple of beers from the trolley, resigning over the intercom, opening the emergency exit and sliding his way to freedom.

He claimed that he was pushed over the edge after being abused by a passenger who stood up too early following landing. He was later arrested at his home and charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and criminal trespass and sentenced to a year of probation.

Although many saw his dramatic exit, not a single witness could corroborate Slater’s story regarding passenger abuse, writes the Wall Street Journal.

Parting letter

When it comes to hidden messages in newspapers, one of the Daily Express’ former lead columnists Stephen Pollard is described as “the master of the genre” by the Guardian, after famously concealing the phrase “f*** you Desmond” in his final piece.

It was understood to be a rebuke to the paper’s owner Richard Desmond, and appeared in Pollard’s final editorial about organic farming.

The prank reportedly cost Pollard a job he had lined up for himself at The Times, but he was later re-hired at the Express. “It was a long time ago. Richard’s in business, he’s a businessman, he probably felt it was water under the bridge,” Pollard told the Guardian.


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