The White House Twitter accounts will not be turned over to the Biden team, and the Biden-Harris transition team is not happy about it.
Twitter decided not to turn over the White House Twitter accounts to the incoming Biden-Harris transition team. Due to this move, the team complains about it and airs their complaints about this move, stating that it “unnecessarily politicizes what otherwise should be a routine transfer of communication.”
The Biden camp is now complaining that Twitter not giving them the Trump Admin’s millions of followers “unnecessarily politicizes what otherwise should be a routine transfer of communication” https://t.co/mi2W4fGwqv
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 24, 2020
The White House Twitter accounts exploded from 26 million followers at the end of the Obama administration to about 60 million by the end of President Trump’s administration.
In relation to the decision of the social media platform, Biden’s digital director tweeted, “In 2016, the Trump admin absorbed all of President Obama’s Twitter followers on @POTUS and @WhiteHouse – at Team 44’s urging. In 2020, Twitter has informed us that as of right now, the Biden administration will have to start from zero.”
Cameron French, the Biden-Harris transition spokesperson, told CNN, “Twitter’s reluctance to transfer millions of followers from the Trump Administration to the Biden Administration unnecessarily politicizes what otherwise should be a routine transfer of communication from one administration to the next.”
French also alleged that the Obama-Biden Administration built the social media followings and that this was handed over to the Trump administration as soon as Trump took office. He added that the transfer of social media accounts is not about politics, it was about “ensuring no disruption in the ability of the executive branch of the government to communicate its policies to the country directly.”
The transition spokesperson of Biden-Harris also claimed that directly communicating its policies to the country through Twitter accounts is especially important in times of crisis. He continued that the American people “deserve access to information in a variety of forms, including social media.”
In addition to this, French also added that the social media giant failed to give an exact reason as to why they chose not to provide the social media account. He stated that it is a decision that “flies in the face of how other digital platforms are handling this transition.”
President Trump took over the @POTUS and @WhiteHouse accounts in the year 2017. At that time, each of the accounts has over 13 million followers. As of the moment, the @POTUS account now has 33.2 million followers, and the @WhiteHouse has 26 million.
Meanwhile, Twitter aired its side and told CNN that the White House 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. 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.”
Last Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the spokesman for Twitter stated that Trump’s account @realDonaldTrump would be placed under a more significant risk of censorship once Trump is no longer president.
The Twitter spokesperson said that currently, President Trump could tweet through his personal account with less risk compared to other private individuals. However, once Trump is no longer the president, his personal Twitter account, which has more than 88 million followers, will no longer receive special privileges and be treated the same as any private citizen.
The social media platform also added that said loss of privileges that is specially reserved for public officials and world leaders would also mean that if Trump violates the rules and policies of Twitter, his tweets would be taken down rather than merely being labeled. As of the moment, Trump’s tweets through his personal account are being labeled by the company before and since the election. Tweets of Trump also often come with a warning that “this claim about election fraud is disputed.”