Twitter has told President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team that President Donald Trump’s followers will not carry over to the official Twitter accounts assigned to the new president and White House in January, a reversal from 2016.
That means the Biden administration will start with zero followers and would cut off a way for Biden to instantly reach millions of people that Trump enjoyed.
According to Bloomberg, the Twitter accounts of the first lady, @FLOTUS, and of the White House press secretary, @PressSec, which have millions of followers each, will also be reset to zero.
@Transition46 becomes White House, which they will push @JoeBiden and @WhiteHouse followers to follow with a one-time front page notification.
Biden’s own account, @JoeBiden, has 21.7 million followers.
The @POTUS account has more than 33 million followers while @WhiteHouse has 26 million. Each account had more than 13 million followers on Inauguration Day 2017. At 12:01 p.m. that day, when Trump was sworn in, the @POTUS account was changed to @POTUS44, an archive of President Barack Obama’s official tweets. That account kept all of its followers, which were also automatically added as followers to the newly created @POTUS account for the Trump administration.
In 2016, the Trump admin absorbed all of President Obama’s Twitter followers on @POTUS and @WhiteHouse — at Team 44’s urging.
“Twitter has informed us that as of right now the Biden administration will have to start from zero,” Biden digital director Rob Flaherty tweeted Tuesday. He later added that the Biden team had, via email, pushed back on the company’s plans and “were told this was unequivocal.”
Twitter spokesman Nick Pacilio said the company “has been in ongoing discussions with the Biden transition team on a number of aspects related to White House account transfers.”