The man who may have started the process that led Twitter to shut down President Donald Trump’s account early this month was quoted Wednesday as agreeing with the company that the 11-minute blackout was an accident.
The man, identified by the technology site TechCrunch as Bahtiyar Duysak, is quoted as saying he was working on his last day as a contractor on Twitter’s help desk on Nov. 2 when he received one of the many user reports Twitter gets every day complaining about the president’s rhetoric.
In a video of the interview posted with the TechCrunch article, the man identified as Duysak says he simply fielded the complaint and started Twitter’s process to review and take action on it.
NBC News hasn’t verified TechCrunch’s identification of Duysak as having been involved in the incident. A spokesperson for Twitter confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday night that a man named Bahtiyar Duysak had worked for the company but said Twitter couldn’t comment on former employees “to protect our internal security measures.”
In the TechCrunch video, the man, whom TechCrunch said it interviewed in Germany, indicates that he doesn’t believe he was the person directly responsible for the shutdown of the president’s account, often referring to “this person” and “him,” not to “me” or “I.”
“If I am involved in this, I really apologize if I hurt anyone. I didn’t do anything on purpose,” he says, describing the episode as “definitely a mistake.”
The explanations that Twitter gave at the time closely match the account given by the man identified as Duysak.
Twitter first said that Trump’s account “was inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee.” Later, the compnay said: “Through our investigation we have learned that this was done by a Twitter customer support employee who did this on the employee’s last day. We are conducting a full internal review.”
The Twitter spokesperson said Wednesday night: “We have taken a number of steps to keep an incident like this from happening again.”
In the TechCrunch interview, the man identified as Duysak says he has been hounded by the media since he left Twitter and simply wants to “continue an ordinary life.”
“I don’t want to flee from the media,” he says. “I want to speak to my neighbors and friends. I had to delete hundreds of friends, so many pictures, because reporters are stalking me.”
Asked about his having been hailed as a “hero” and worthy of the Nobel Peace Price by critics of the president, the man — again referring to “this person” and “him,” not as “me” or “I” — calls such messages “just comments.”
“Not one little mistake of one human being can lead to such a result,” he says. “I think it’s all about a number of coincidences.”