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Twitter followers of US govt accounts won’t transfer to Biden

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People who follow official government accounts of the Trump administration such as @POTUS will be given the option to continue as followers when the account is transferred to Joe Biden's team in January./AFP
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Dec 23, 2020 - 10:40 AM

WASHINGTON — Twitter said Tuesday it would not automatically transfer the millions of followers of official Trump administration accounts to the incoming Biden administration, but instead give users the option to continue or not.

The move affects followers of  government-led accounts such as @WhiteHouse and @POTUS, which will be transferred to Joe Biden when he takes over the presidency in January.

Twitter’s decision won’t affect the personal account @realDonaldTrump, which is frequently used by President Donald Trump and has some 88 million followers.

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“For example, people who follow @WhiteHouse will be notified that the account has been archived as @WhiteHouse45 and given the option to follow the new @WhiteHouse account.”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.

While not as widely followed as Trump’s personal account, @POTUS has some 33 million followers and @WhiteHouse 26 million.

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.”

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