Twitter decided not to turn over the millions of followers of the White House Twitter accounts to the upcoming administration, and the Biden-Harris team is not happy about it.
According to Twitter, the White House Twitter accounts that currently have over 60 million followers will not be turned over to the Biden team. Because of this move, the Biden-Harris transition team is complaining about it and making claims that the social media platform “unnecessarily politicizes what otherwise should be a routine transfer of communication.”
Before President Trump took over the White House account, it has only around 26 million followers. However, since the end of the Obama administration up to the present, the account has exploded to over 60 million followers.
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
To air their disagreement with the decision that Twitter made, 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.”
The transition spokesperson of Biden-Harris, Cameron French, also told CNN that the reluctance of Twitter to transfer the millions of followers from the Trump administration” ‘unnecessarily politicizes” what they refer to as “a routine transfer of communication from the outgoing administration to the next one.
In addition to this, French also alleged that the Obama-Biden administration was the one who built the social media followings of the said Twitter account before it was handed over to President Trump. The spokesperson of Biden-Harris also added that the transfer of the Twitter accounts has nothing to do about politics. French stated that it was merely about “ensuring no disruption in the ability of the executive branch of the government to communicate its policies to the country directly.”
In addition to this, the Biden-Harris transition spokesperson also alleged that directly communicating the country’s policies through Twitter is essential at these times of crisis. He continued and stated that the American people “deserve access to information in a variety of forms, including social media.”
French also alleged that the said social media giant failed to provide an exact reason why they chose not to transfer the White Hosue Twitter account. He said that the decision of Twitter “flies in the face of how other digital platforms are handling this transition.”
In the year 2017, President Trump took over the @POTUS and @WhiteHouse Twitter accounts. At that time, each of the accounts has only around 13 million followers. However, at the end of his term, the @POTUS account has exploded to over 33.2 million followers, and @WhiteHouse has approximately 26 million followers.
In response to the allegations of the Biden-Harris team, Twitter gave aired their side. Twitter 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 week, the Wall Street Journal also reported that Trump’s Twitter account @realDonaldTrump would now be placed under more significant risk of censorship than when he was still sitting as a President.
They added that once Trump is no longer the president, his personal Twitter account, with over 88 million followers, will not be given special privileges anymore. The account will be treated the same way as any other private citizen.