Twitter to Delete Donald Trump’s @POTUS Followers After He Leaves Office
Twitter has announced that it will delete all its users who follow the official White House accounts, a spokesperson for the social media site told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
The decision applies to @WhiteHouse, @POTUS, @VP, @FLOTUS, @Cabinet, and @LaCasaBlanca, which will all have to build a Twitter following from scratch once President-Elect Joe Biden is inaugurated.
Rob Flaherty, the digital director for the Biden campaign, accused Twitter on Tuesday of having a double standard.
“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,” Flaherty wrote.
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
A representative for the gigantic digital platform later noted to The New York Post that people who wish to follow the cluster of presidential mini-blogs will be given the option to do so.
“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,” the individual said. “For example, people who follow @WhiteHouse will be notified that the account has been archived as @WhiteHouse45 and given the option to follow the new @WhiteHouse account.”
Twitter did not, however, clarify why it has chosen to do this.
“As we did in 2017, Twitter is actively working with the US government to support the transition of Twitter accounts across administrations, so that the incoming Biden administration will have access to institutional White House Twitter accounts,” the spokesman said in an email to The Post.
Twitter also explained to The Verge that it is “in ongoing discussions with the Biden transition team on a number of aspects related to White House account transfers.”
Biden’s personal account will not be affected. Neither will President Donald Trump’s. His presidential account, @POTUS, will be renamed and archived as @POTUS45. Biden’s presidential account will be @POTUS46.
But Twitter has recently stated that if Trump continues to post fake news and conspiracy theories, he risks facing a personal ban from the site.
On December 3, a spokesperson for Twitter told Forbes that Trump is on skating thin ice upon returning to private life and that if he continues to post debunked conspiracy theories as well as fraudulent claims about the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic to the site’s platform, his personal account, @realDonaldTrump, will be banned. It would probably be wise for him to avoid threatening nuclear armageddon again, too.
As president, Trump is shielded by Twitter’s “World Leaders Policy,” which allows tweets from politicians to remain visible even if they violate the normal terms of service. Likewise, Biden will enjoy the same cushioning for however long he serves in the White House.
“If a Tweet from a world leader does violate the Twitter Rules but there is a clear public interest value to keeping the Tweet on the service, we may place it behind a notice that provides context about the violation and allows people to click through should they wish to see the content,” the World Leaders Policy states.