Twitter to hand @POTUS account to Biden on inauguration day

The masthead of US President Donald Trump's @realDonaldTrump Twitter account with a message about Opec policy is seen on April 20, 2018. — @realDonaldTrump/Handout via Reuters
The masthead of US President Donald Trump's @realDonaldTrump Twitter account with a message about Opec policy is seen on April 20, 2018. — @realDonaldTrump/Handout via Reuters

WASHINGTON, Nov 22 — Twitter confirmed yesterday it will hand control of the presidential @POTUS account to Joe Biden when he is sworn in on inauguration day, even if President Donald Trump has not conceded his election loss.

“Twitter is actively preparing to support the transition of White House institutional Twitter accounts on January 20th, 2021,” the social network said in a statement to AFP.

“As we did for the presidential transition in 2017, this process is being done in close consultation with the National Archives and Records Administration,” the statement said.

The handover will see all existing tweets on @POTUS, as well as @FLOTUS (the First Lady), @VP (vice president) and other official accounts, archived.

The accounts will then be reset to zero tweets and transferred to the incoming Biden White House that day.

Trump, who still has not conceded his November 3 loss, used Twitter to help build his political brand and, later, wield the power of the presidency — though he mainly uses his personal account, @realDonaldTrump, whose 88 million followers dwarf @POTUS’s 32 million.

The @POTUS account is largely used to re-tweet Trump’s personal account, as well as the White House and other accounts.

Trump’s frequent habit of abruptly announcing new policies on the platform has led to long-standing complaints of governing by tweet.

Twitter has long come under pressure to curb the president’s use of the site to spread misinformation and conspiracy theories.

Since the election, the company has slapped warning labels on many Trump tweets as he continues to insist — despite all evidence to the contrary — that he won the vote, and that Biden’s victory is due to massive fraud.

Biden, for his part, is a far more sedate Twitter user. He has sent fewer than 7,000 tweets to his 19 million followers, compared to Trump’s 58,000. — AFP

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