Twitter will NOT transfer Donald Trump’s millions of followers to Joe Biden when the Democrat takes over official White House accounts
- The change affects accounts including @POTUS and @WhiteHouse
- Users will be given a prompt after transition asking if they still want to follow
- @POTUS is not as well known as Trump’s personal account but still draws 33m
- Trump’s own account has more than 88m followers, while Biden’s has 22m
Followers will be given a prompt asking whether they wish to continue following government-led accounts such as @WhiteHouse and @POTUS.
It reverses the goodwill gesture of the handover from Barack Obama to Trump, where the followers of the official @POTUS page – which has more than 33 million followers – were retained by the new president.
Trump’s personal account is much more energetic and has some 88 million followers, but the @POTUS page is still stacked with ardent Trump fans who are liable to take Twitter up on its offer to stop following when Biden assumes power.
Twitter continues to inject itself onto the political landscape and earlier this week its boss Jack Dorsey unfollowed both the @POTUS and Trump’s personal accounts.
The 33.2 million followers of the @POTUS page will be prompted on whether they still want to follow – marking a shift in protocol from the Obama handover
Trump’s personal Twitter account is more ‘high energy’ than the @POTUS page and attracts more than 88 million followers
Dorsey also unfollowed Biden’s personal account, which draws 21.7 million followers, Kamala Harris’s page and Ivanka Trump’s.
Trump, who has made Twitter a hallmark of his presidency, has lost 368,743 followers since November 17, according to Factba.se, a website that tracks Trump’s public statements and tweets.
Trump’s follower count remains colossal but the decrease represents a shift for an account that has rapidly grown during his time in office.
Biden has gained about 2.5 million followers in the same period.
The official government 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,’ a Twitter statement 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‘For example, people who follow @WhiteHouse will be notified that the account has been archived as @WhiteHouse45 and given the option to follow the new @WhiteHouse account.’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 has been working on the transition for the platform widely used by Trump since the election results were finalized, and has indicated that as a private citizen Trump may not have as much leeway in stretching the rules for newsworthy comments.
Joe Biden’s personal Twitter account has more than 21.7 million followers – the number has been rising fast since November
The transfer will affect other institutional accounts such as @VP, @FLOTUS, @PressSec, @Cabinet, and @LaCasaBlanca, according to Twitter.
Last month, Twitter indicated any special treatment that Trump has enjoyed ends with his presidency.
‘Twitter’s approach to world leaders, candidates and public officials is based on the principle that people should be able to choose to see what their leaders are saying with clear context,’ the San Francisco company said.
‘This policy framework applies to current world leaders and candidates for office, and not private citizens when they no longer hold these positions.’
Trump’s personal Twitter account has sometimes fired off more than 100 tweets a day and has been used to communicate with his supporters, insult opponents and fire staff. He also has announced numerous policy decisions on the platform.
Twitter this year started adding warnings and labels to the president’s rule-breaking tweets, including on misinformation tweeted about the Nov. 3 election. Trump and Republican lawmakers have repeatedly accused Twitter and other major social media platforms of anti-conservative bias in their content moderation, which the companies deny.
In recent weeks, Twitter has said that when Biden takes office, Trump will be subject to the same rules as any other user. He will also begin to be subject to Facebook Inc’s third-party fact-checking program, from which politicians are exempt.