Outgoing Twitter worker responsible for Trump account outage

The masthead of US President Donald Trump's @realDonaldTrump Twitter account is seen on July 11, 2017. (@realDonaldTrump/Handout/File Photo via REUTERS)
Updated 03 November 2017
0

Outgoing Twitter worker responsible for Trump account outage

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump’s well-known Twitter account briefly vanished on Thursday evening — with the social media company blaming “human error by a Twitter employee.”
Visitors to @realDonaldTrump around 7:00 p.m. (2300 GMT) were greeted with the message “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!“
“Earlier today @realDonaldTrump’s account was inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee. The account was down for 11 minutes, and has since been restored,” the official Twitter Government account said.
“We are continuing to investigate and are taking steps to prevent this from happening again.”
The outspoken US president has 41.7 million followers on his personal Twitter account, from which he blasts his most controversial and attention-grabbing comments — often in the form of early morning “tweetstorms.”WASHINGTON: A Twitter employee on their last day with the company was responsible for taking down Donald Trump’s account, the social network said Thursday, as the president resumed tweeting after the 11-minute outage.
Visitors to @realDonaldTrump around 7:00 p.m. (2300 GMT) were greeted with the message “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!“
Twitter initially said the account had been “inadvertently deactivated due to human error,” but later indicated it was done intentionally by a departing worker.
“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,” it said.
“We are conducting a full internal review,” it said on the official Twitter Government account.
The outspoken president has 41.7 million followers on his personal Twitter account, which he uses to blast controversial and attention-grabbing comments.
Trump has even used the social media site to announce policy, and surprised Pentagon chiefs in July by tweeting that transgender people would be barred from serving “in any capacity” in the US military, a ban that has since been blocked by a US court.
The outage sparked discussion of the security of Trump’s account, given the potentially dire consequences of messages falsely attributed to the president.
“It is shocking that some random Twitter employee could shut down the president’s account. What if they instead had tweeted fake messages?” Blake Hounshell, the editor-in-chief of POLITICO Magazine, wrote on Twitter.
He added: “Seriously, what if this person had tweeted about a fictional nuclear strike on North Korea?“
Many praised the temporary shutdown of Trump’s account, with users saying the unnamed employee responsible “deserves a medal” and that “not all heroes wear capes.”
“Trump’s Twitter deactivated for 11 min, and I suddenly thought I’d jumped back into the real timeline where things aren’t so damned absurd,” tweeted Star Trek actor turned social media personality George Takei.
But the temporary disappearance of the account — and the glee this prompted among the president’s detractors — drew fire from others.
“Liberals were celebrating for the 15 minutes that Trump’s Twitter disappeared, proving once again they love censorship and hate free speech,” one popular tweet read.
Trump’s official White House account, @POTUS, which has 20.9 million followers, was apparently not affected by the outage.
After the account was restored Trump did not tweet about the vanishing act, but made several posts on other topics.
Trump’s official White House account, @POTUS, which has 20.9 million followers, was apparently not affected.
Trump did not tweet about his account’s vanishing act, but after it was restored made a post about his party’s tax plan.


Vox Cinemas brings popcorn and superheroes to 80 screens across Saudi Arabia

Updated 27 min 46 sec ago
0

Vox Cinemas brings popcorn and superheroes to 80 screens across Saudi Arabia

  • Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), the Dubai-based operator of malls and leisure facilities, is preparing a big roll-out of new cinema screens in the Kingdom
  • Cameron Mitchell, the chief executive of MAF Cinemas, revealed the plans in an interview with Arab News

DUBAI: Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), the Dubai-based operator of malls and leisure facilities, is preparing a big roll-out of new cinema screens in the Kingdom.
Following the first film viewing for nearly four decades in April and the opening of four Vox screens in Riyadh Park Mall, MAF is on the verge of a more ambitious initiative to create 80 screens in the Kingdom by the first quarter of next year.
Cameron Mitchell, the chief executive of MAF Cinemas, revealed the plans in an interview with Arab News.
“By the spring of 2019 we will have invested $100 million in cinema in Saudi Arabia, and by the end of next year we expect to have 200 screens. It is one of the fastest programs of openings anywhere in the world. There’s a lot happening very quickly,” he said.
The latest initiative is part of MAF’s $550 million strategy for cinemas in the Kingdom, and will see screens in Riyadh, Jeddah, in the Eastern Province and eventually many other smaller cities. Mitchell, who has been working in cinema in the region for the past 12 years, said the Saudi Arabian market is potentially huge.
“Saudi Arabia has such a young population and a big demand for entertainment, so the potential is enormous. For example, in Australia the average per capita number of cinema visits is five times a year. Even if every Saudi visits a cinema just once a year, that’s 30 million new visits per year,” he said.
MAF is planning to open 600 screens in Saudi Arabia by 2030, but Mitchell said that could be a “conservative” target. Cinemas in the Kingdom will eventually account for 50 percent of MAF’s regional cinema business, he estimated.
Mitchell said that MAF’s experience so far in Saudi Arabia had been very good. “We think we know what will appeal to Saudi audiences. Black Panther was the first, and the reception was fantastic. Movies such as the Avenger series, Ferdinand, Jurassic Park, X-Men all play well there.The big blockbusters go down really well, but there will also be Arabic films, and Hindi films at other times. Jurassic Park was a real hit — it was the first time some Saudis had ever seen a 3D dinosaur on a big screen,” he added.
The four screens in Riyadh are divided into “family” and “bachelor” venues, and films are chosen to be suitable for the particular audience. “Aside from the segregation of bachelors and families, it’s no different from Dubai. Perhaps over time, that segregation will change too,” Mitchell said.
The reintroduction of cinema has gone very smoothly, he said. “There have been no real challenges regarding content. We’ve been working closely with the censors, but there have been no problems so far.
“We’ve learned a lot from how the UAE censors films, and advances in technology allow us to do it in a more subtle way, for instance zooming in on one subject in a controversial scene. We can avoid (bits) ... rather than cutting the whole scene.
“Areas to avoid are pretty obvious — religion and nudity, and we don’t really show films that have that kind of content anyway. It is mainly action films and family films. We will have lots of screens, so we can match whatever the demand is and the law allows,” he said.
MAF wants to make cinema one of the main forms of entertainment in the Kingdom as it goes through Vision 2030 transformation plans aimed at diversifying the economy and allowing a more liberal lifestyle.
“It is not just about a movie. We want it to be the favorite form of all-round entertainment, and so far it has been a great success. We’ve been selling tickets a couple of days in advance. There have been multiple sold-out sessions, and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback on the popcorn and the nachos,” he said.
One of the biggest cinema hubs will be in the Mall of Saudi, which MAF is planning in the Saudi capital, complete with an indoor ski slope.
“Our cinemas win awards for being among the best in the world, quite an achievement for a Middle East company. The Mall of Saudi will be an entertainment hub, equipped for gaming as well,” Mitchell said. Other new screens will be located in existing malls but there will also be some standalone venues.
“We’re spending a lot of money to develop cinemas quickly, so returns will be consistent with what we normally get from cinemas,” he said.
Mitchell said MAF was open to discussions with existing developers, and would be interested in projects in places such as King Abdullah Economic City and Qiddiya, the huge leisure complex planned outside Riyadh.
“We like to see ourselves as the local developer. Of course, there is competition, but we always build the best in the region, and we run the best malls in the region too. We don’t do cheap, we do best in class and we won’t cut corners,” he said.
MAF plans to employ 3,000 mostly Saudi staff in its cinema business, and wants to recruit a Saudi to run the distribution business in which it partners with 20th Century Fox.
The boost to KSA cinema entertainment is also expected to have a big effect on film-making in the region, Mitchell said.
“We’re looking for some big Saudi film premieres in the autumn. I was at the Cannes Film Festival recently, marketing the product and looking at how we can support the film industry in Saudi Arabia.
“Regionally, there is not a lot of locally made content, but we expect a lot more in years to come. We want local content and we see lots of Saudi films in coming years. We will work with the government to help that along. Cinema in Saudi Arabia is a government-backed and endorsed initiative as part of 2030,” he said.