Twitter accounts @POTUS, @WhiteHouse, or the other official presidential handles' followers would not be transferred on the day of the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on January 20, 2021. This is in contrast to when President Trump was inaugurated in January 2017 when the official Twitter accounts were taken over by the Trump administration with their followers intact at the acknowledgment of the outgoing Obama government.
Twitter to Wipe POTUS Account's Followers
According to Joe Biden's presidential campaign digital director on Tuesday, the social media platform company told the Biden team it would be "wiping followers" from the official POTUS (President of the United States) and White House Twitter handles upon being bequeathed to the incoming administration.
Biden campaign's digital director, Rob Flaherty, stated, "In 2016, the Trump admin absorbed all of President Obama's Twitter followers on @POTUS and @WhiteHouse -- at Team 44's urging. In 2020, Twitter has informed us that as of right now the Biden administration will have to start from zero," reported NDTV.
Twitter declared on Tuesday that followers of official Trump government accounts would not be automatically transferred to the incoming Biden government. In turn, the users will be given the selection to choose whether they would like to continue following the account, which is a complete reversal from the previous transition from the outgoing Obama administration.
Twitter accounts @WhiteHouse has 26 million followers, and @POTUS has over 33 million followers.
According to Twitter, the accounts for @VP, @FLOTUS, @Cabinet, @PressSec, and @LaCasaBlanca will also have to start with a clean slate of zero followers. There were reportedly disputes between the Twitter and Biden camp over whether followers should be transferred, reported The Verge.
Barack Obama's administration in 2017 asserted for Twitter to transfer the official accounts to Trump when he left the White House, as well as the accounts' followers and the social media giant followed through.
Meanwhile, Facebook is allowing presidential handles and their followers to be transferred to the Biden administration.
Twitter released a statement, "The accounts will not automatically retain their existing followers. Instead, Twitter will notify followers of these accounts to provide context that the content will be archived and allow them the choice to follow the Biden administration's new accounts." For example, @WhiteHouse followers will be notified that the handle has been archived as @WhiteHouse45 and be provided the selection to follow the new @WhiteHouse handle, reported CNET.
The change ignited public denouncement from the president-elect's digital director on Twitter.
Upon notifying the followers of the aforementioned accounts, they will also be made aware that those accounts' content will be archived with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
Twitter's decision has no effect on the personal account of President Donald Trump, @realDonaldTrump, which is frequently used by Trump and has an estimated 88 million followers.
It has been working on the transition for the platform widely used by the president since the election results were finalized. The website stated that as a private citizen, Trump might not have as much liberty in stretching the guidelines for newsworthy remarks.