The viral tweet about Trump refusing to give Biden his @POTUS followers is wrong, even if it is on-brand

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When Joe Biden turns into president on January 20, his administration will acquire management of the @POTUS and @WhiteHouse Twitter accounts. But the mixed 60 million followers of these accounts will not be going with them.

The switch has grow to be a problem between Twitter and the Biden transition group, in accordance to the Wall Street Journal. The Biden group needs to maintain the followers of these accounts, as was the case for the Obama-Trump transition. Four years in the past, and coping with this difficulty for the primary time, the Obama administration made it some extent to make the digital transition as easy and seamless as doable. This time, Twitter has different concepts.

“The accounts will not automatically retain their existing followers,” Twitter spokesperson Nick Pacilio mentioned in a press release. “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.”

Twitter didn’t present a motive for the change, however the Wall Street Journal article identified that the 2017 Twitter transition had technical points. Among them, a glitch brought about individuals who had intentionally unfollowed the @POTUS account to robotically observe it once more, which many individuals didn’t respect.

What may need been a minor difficulty blew up on — the place else? — Twitter on Tuesday afternoon after a contract journalist named Hugo Lowell tweeted that the Trump administration refused to give its followers to Biden.

But that’s not true, in accordance to Twitter, which mentioned it was an “inaccurate characterization.” Biden digital director Rob Flaherty agreed.

The White House didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Lowell declined to remark, however he did difficulty a correction.

Lowell’s incorrect tweet has gotten 1000’s of retweets and “Likes,” and understandably so: It is in keeping with Trump’s model to do one thing like this. Trump is obsessive about what number of followers he has and with having extra of them than anybody else, so it would make sense if he had been loath to give away the tens of tens of millions of followers acquired throughout his presidency to the one that beat him.

Such pettiness would have additionally been a becoming finish to the Twitter presidency. Twitter helped Trump get elected, as he used the platform to increase his profile, communicate out towards Obama, and unfold racist birther conspiracies. The platform additionally enabled Trump to run a profitable presidential marketing campaign, run the nation, and, lastly, run an unsuccessful presidential marketing campaign — all with out altering his habits or tone one bit.

It’s subsequently ironic that Trump can be the sufferer of viral misinformation-by-tweet after being a misinformation superspreader himself. He has lied, ceaselessly, after which watched these lies unfold throughout social media earlier than making their approach onto conventional media codecs to be seen and heard by tens of millions if not billions.

President Trump has confronted few penalties for his tweets. Only within the final yr, when it turned obvious that there was an actual probability he would lose the election, did social media platforms strive to curb the misinformation he expertly used them to unfold. It can be fascinating to see how they deal with him as soon as his account isn’t topic to particular guidelines for public officers; Twitter has already mentioned it would think about taking down Trump tweets that violate its guidelines (at the moment, it solely tags them with a fact-check). When he leaves workplace in January, Trump will nonetheless have management over his private account, @realDonaldTrump, which he used excess of the official accounts and which has tens of millions extra followers than @POTUS and @WhiteHouse mixed.

So in spite of everything that, possibly it’s for the very best that the official White House accounts get a recent begin and an opportunity to rebuild from the bottom up. Hopefully, the individuals who adopted these accounts purely out of curiosity in and respect for the workplaces — as opposed to whoever occurs to be in them — will see and settle for the provide to observe them once more.

Update, December 22, 7 pm ET: Added Hugo Lowell’s correction tweet and decline to remark.

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