It seems that President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden might have one common enemy — Twitter.
During his tumultuous four years as the leader of the free world, President Trump had many feuds with Twitter and its founder, Jack Dorsey.
Before Biden even steps foot in the White House, he has found himself in a war with Twitter. Biden’s transition team slammed the social media platform after it announced its surprising decision not to transfer millions of followers of the White House Twitter accounts to the new President and Vice President.
On January 20th, the official Twitter accounts @WhiteHouse, @POTUS, @VP, @FLOTUS, @PressSec, @Cabinet, and @LaCasaBlanca will be handed over to Biden’s staff with zero followers.
As of today, the U.S. president’s official Twitter account has over 33.2 million followers. Here is an interesting fact, since taking office, Trump has tweeted more than 50,000 times.
The former reality TV star is expected to keep up with his infamous Twitter storms via his personal Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, which boasts of 88.5 million followers.
Many are baffled by the move because Trump was able to automatically retain the millions of followers that former President Barack Obama and his administration had accumulated over eight years. It was considered the first Twitter transfer of power in U.S. history.
Biden-Harris transition spokesperson Cameron French said in a statement via 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 further slammed the social media giant’s controversial decision: “The Obama-Biden Administration built out social media accounts and followings that were handed over to the Trump Administration immediately and fully upon taking office. This wasn’t about politics; it was about ensuring no disruption in the ability of the executive branch of government to directly communicate its policies to the country.”
He continued by saying: “Especially in times of crisis, the American people deserve access to information in a variety of forms, including social media. Twitter has failed to articulate a clear reason for why they have chosen this abrupt reversal in policies, a decision that flies in the face of how other digital platforms are handling this transition,” French said.
A spokesperson for Twitter, Nick Pacilio, confirmed that Biden and his staff will not “automatically retain their existing followers,” but declined to say why.
The rep stated: “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.”
Many observers are having a hard time understanding what is behind this decision.