Twitter confirmed last month that Joe Biden would get the rights to the @POTUS handle.
The @POTUS account on Twitter currently has 33 million followers. On Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, that number might reset to zero. President-elect Joe Biden won’t inherit the followers of the previous administration when he officially takes control of the account on the popular social media platform, according to a Bloomberg report.Twitter confirmed last month that Biden will get the rights to the handle @POTUS, which stands for president of the United States, whether or not Donald Trump concedes by Jan. 20. The first lady’s @FLOTUS account and the press secretary’s @PressSec account will also be handed over, and their follower counts will reportedly be reset.
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That would be a reversal of what happened in 2016, when Trump’s incoming administration inherited the @POTUS account from President Barack Obama, complete with millions of followers. People who follow Biden’s personal account and the @WhiteHouse account will get a onetime notification when the transition happens, according to Bloomberg. Twitter didn’t confirm the report to CNET but noted via email that it’s “been in ongoing discussions with the Biden transition team on a number of aspects related to White House account transfers.”Rob Flaherty, the digital director for Biden’s presidential campaign, said in a tweet Tuesday that Twitter told Biden’s transition team that “as of right now the Biden administration will have to start from zero” when the @POTUS and @WhiteHouse accounts are transferred. In another tweet, Flaherty said Biden’s team pushed back against the idea but was “told this was unequivocal.”
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. https://t.co/wj1R02SmiK— Rob Flaherty (@Rob_Flaherty) December 22, 2020
The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, also reported that the issue was a “sticking point” that arose in a meeting last week. During the 2017 transfer of the White House Twitter accounts, there were some hiccups in the process, including technical glitches and complaints from users, according to the report.Twitter didn’t immediately respond to questions about whether the decision has been finalized. Biden’s transition team didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.