Twitter has told President-elect Joe Bidenâ€™s team that President Donald Trumpâ€™s followers will not carry over to the official accounts assigned to the new president and White House in January, a reversal from the last transition.
The move would mean the Biden administrationâ€™s accounts will start with zero followers, cutting off a way for Biden to instantly reach millions of people who currently follow the official accounts used by Trump. The @POTUS account has more than 33 million followers while @WhiteHouse has 26 million.
â€œTwitter has informed us that as of right now the Biden administration will have to start from zero,â€ Biden digital director Rob Flaherty tweeted Tuesday. He later added that the Biden team had, via email, pushed back on the companyâ€™s plans and â€œwere told this was unequivocal.â€
Twitter spokesman Nick Pacilio said the company â€œhas been in ongoing discussions with the Biden transition team on a number of aspects related to White House account transfers.â€
If the accounts are reset to zero, that would be a change from when Trump took office. On Inauguration Day 2017, each had more than 13 million followers. At 12:01 p.m. that day, when Trump was sworn in, the @POTUS account was changed to @POTUS44, an archive of Barack Obamaâ€™s official tweets as Americaâ€™s 44th president.
Followers of that account were also automatically added as followers to the newly created @POTUS account for the Trump administration.
Twitter said that users who follow the current White House accounts will be notified that they are being archived with â€œ45â€ added to the handles and will be given the option to follow the Biden administration accounts.
The Biden team says the new plan is for @Transition46 to become @WhiteHouse. Followers of @JoeBiden and @WhiteHouse will be encouraged to follow the new account with a one-time front page notification, but will not be migrated over automatically.
The Twitter accounts of the first lady, @FLOTUS, and of the White House press secretary, @PressSec, which have millions of followers each, will also be reset to zero. Bidenâ€™s own account, @JoeBiden, has 21.7 million followers.
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