On Wednesday, as President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr completes a transition into the White House, a number of social media firms will complete the conversion of their own highly-tracked official accounts. .
However, empowerment will not be as seamless as it was four years ago, when President Barack Obama transferred the keys of much of his social empire to President Trump.
In 2017, President Obama passed his official Twitter account to President Trump, along with the millions of followers the account gathered. Since then, President Trump’s digital team has used these accounts as loudspeakers for the administration’s agenda and built a higher number of followers: @POTUS has 33.3 million followers, @The White House there are 26 million, @FLOTUS has 16.4 million and @VP there are 10.3 million. The @POTUS account alone has nearly tripled his followers under Trump.
But this year, instead of just transferring them like before, Twitter won’t transfer the followers of each account over which Mr. Biden assumes control. Instead, accounts with much smaller followers, which were mainly created last week, will be converted to official accounts.
The transition means Biden digital operations will largely have to build new followers from scratch, rather than starting from a predecessor like President Trump had. Twitter said it will warn users about new accounts.
“People on Twitter who have previously followed the White House Twitter accounts or who are currently following relevant Biden or Harris Twitter accounts will receive in-app alerts and reminders. another will inform them of the archival process, as well as give them the option to follow the new administration’s Twitter accounts, ”Twitter said in a blog post.
@PresElectBiden, an account that has only been posted once and has less than a million followers, becomes @POTUS, attracting no matter how many followers on Wednesday afternoon.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will bring her 5.3 million followers from her own account @SenKamalaHarris via @VP.
Tweets on each existing account will be stored under different names. For example, the Trump administration’s tweets under @POTUS, will be routed to @ POTUS45.
Mr. Trump frequently uses Twitter to make policy announcements and fire some of the people who work for him, attracting millions of new followers even as he spreads misinformation about the voting process and election security,
The National Archives will preserve all of Mr. Trump’s social media activity, including tweets removed from @POTUS and his personal account, @realDonaldTrump. The personal accounts that the president uses as the unfiltered platform for policy announcements, grievances and fleeting thoughts that often have a major global impact, remain inaccessible after he was suspended for inciting violence.
Mr. Biden can also resume tweeting in his personal account, @Joe Biden, has 24.3 million followers.
Rob Flaherty, who will serve as the director of digital strategy in the Biden administration, told Bloomberg News last week that it was unfair for Twitter to beat the followers of official accounts.
“They favored President Trump’s early days more than we did,” he said. “If we didn’t end the day with the 12 million followers that Donald Trump inherited from Barack Obama, then they gave us less than they gave Donald Trump, and that’s a failure.”
The transition will be less complicated on other social networks.
Kevin McAlister, a Facebook spokesperson, said on Facebook that those who follow the White House account will be transferred to Mr. Biden. Seven million followers of the Joe Biden account will be cloned to the POTUS site, which has 6.5 million followers and has not been used since May 2018.
Trump’s White House account will be renamed so it can be archived, Mr. McAlister said.
Similar procedures will take place on Instagram, where the White House account has 6.8 million followers. The Joe Biden account has 15.4 million followers on Instagram.
A YouTube spokesperson said 1.87 million White House channel subscribers would be transferred to the Biden administration.
Snapchat will transfer the “whitehouse” account, along with 803,000 registered users, to the Biden Chairman at 12:01 p.m. East on Wednesday, a Snap spokesman said.
That means on those websites, users who have subscribed to news from the Trump administration will soon see news from Biden, which Mr. Flaherty said he was looking forward to.
“It is valuable to communicate with an audience that disagrees with us,” he told Bloomberg News.