Biden camp takes issue with resetting White House Twitter following
President-elect Joe Biden will have to rebuild the social media of the official White House Twitter account from scratch once he is sworn in after the company tells its transition team that it will not inherit the supporters from the Trump administration.
Twitter's move, a departure from the way the company handled the situation four years ago, angered some members of Biden's team.
"In 2016, the Trump administrator added all of President Obama's Twitter followers to @POTUS and @WhiteHouse - at the urging of Team 44," tweeted Rob Flaherty, Biden's digital director, on Monday. "In 2020, Twitter told us that the Biden administration had to start from scratch immediately."
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In a follow-up message, Flaherty tweeted that the transition staff recently battled the idea of resetting the number of followers, but "they were told it was clear".
Twitter gave up control of both the presidency and the White House as part of a larger handover of the Obama administration's social media accounts. The accounts' posts were zeroed and archived elsewhere on Twitter in compliance with federal record keeping laws, but President Donald Trump inherited the audience built during the Obama years.
A company spokesman said they are continuing to work out account-related issues with Biden's warehouse.
"Twitter is currently discussing a number of issues related to account transfers in the White House with the Biden transition team," Twitter spokesman Nick Pacilio said in a statement.
President Donald Trump has largely ignored the @POTUS handle for the past four years to keep tweeting from the personal account that took him to the Oval Office. Trump's personal account currently has 88.5 million followers, a number that has fallen a little in the last few weeks after his election loss to Biden.
POLITICO previously reported that once Biden took his oath of office on the day of inauguration, control of the accounts would be automatically transferred, removing the ability for the Trump administration to impose roadblocks on their successors as at other points in the transition process.
Trump's personal account also loses some of the unique protections given to him during his tenure, potentially exposing him to penalties such as account suspension or termination.
Even so, Biden's own account has 21.6 million followers, a number that is likely to grow after he takes office, and senior administrators such as Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg, Biden's candidate to run the Department of Transportation, have amassed considerable social media, following .
@WhiteHouse's Twitter account has more than 26 million followers and @POTUS stands at 33.2 million. Other presidency-related accounts like @VP and @FLOTUS also have millions of followers.
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