Twitter is going to make President Joe Biden start his @POTUS Twitter account with Zero followers. The microblogging site will wipe out all followers from the @POTUS and @WhiteHouse accounts after Biden is sworn in on 20th January 2020.
According to Rob Flaherty, Biden’s digital director, the company will do this, rather than transferring the accounts’ existing followers over to the new administration.
The accounts for @VP, @FLOTUS, @PressSec, @Cabinet, and @LaCasaBlanca will also have their followers wiped, according to Twitter.
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The Wall Street Journal had earlier reported contention between the Biden camp and Twitter over the issue. The decision to wipe @POTUS is a reversal from Twitter’s approach in 2017 during President Trump’s inauguration. The Trump administration took over accounts from the Obama administration, with Twitter duplicated the existing accounts, and creating an archive of Obama-era tweets and followers, then building a new set of accounts for the incoming administration that retained all of those followers without any of the tweets.
Twitter says; it is “in ongoing discussions with the Biden transition team on a number of aspects related to White House account transfers”. The Verge reports that Biden’s team is seemingly unhappy about the change in policy. The issue is over the significant digital advantage they’ll be losing. Flaherty says the transition team “pushed back and we were told this was unequivocal.”
Twitter says that anyone who follows the handles will get a notification that it’s archiving the accounts on the inauguration day. They will also have the option to follow the Biden administration’s new accounts.
Twitter will rename the current @POTUS account to @POTUS45 and archive it according to the Wall Street Journal. President Trump will still be in charge of his personal @realDonaldTrump account; however with fewer protections than before.
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