Biden team slams Twitter for not turning Trump’s White House followers to them, says will cause 'disruption'
'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'
The Biden-Harris transition team is unable to cope with Twitter's decision to not turn over followers of White House Twitter accounts to their team, especially after the number shot up from 26 million followers at the end of the Obama administration to a staggering 60 million by the end of the Trump presidency.
“In 2016, the Trump admin absorbed all of President Obama’s Twitter followers on @POTUS and on @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," Biden's digital director Rob Flaherty tweeted on Tuesday.
In 2016, the Trump admin absorbed all of President Obama's Twitter followers on @POTUS and @WhiteHouse -- at Team 44's urging.— Rob Flaherty (@Rob_Flaherty) December 22, 2020
In 2020, Twitter has informed us that as of right now the Biden administration will have to start from zero. https://t.co/wj1R02SmiK
“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," Biden-Harris transition spokesperson Cameron French complained to CNN on Wednesday.
“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," French continued. "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. 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," he added.
The @POTUS and @WhiteHouse accounts each had just over 13 million followers when Trump took office in 2017. As of today, the @POTUS account has 33.2 million followers and the @WhiteHouse has 26 million, The Daily Wire reported.
But the White House accounts “will not automatically retain their existing followers," Twitter spokesperson Nick Pacilio told CNN. "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.”
The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that a Twitter spokesman had warned that Trump's account @realDonaldTrump will be under greater risk of censorship once he is no longer president. Trump is currently able to operate his account with less risk as compared to private citizens when it comes to having tweets taken down or his account suspended owing to his presidential office. But when he becomes a private citizen, Trump's Twitter account -- which boasts more than 88 million followers -- will no longer enjoy special privileges.
Pacilio reportedly said that the loss of privileges reserved for world leaders and public officials would mean that if Trump violates the site’s rules, those tweets would be taken down rather than just earning a label in the future, per WSJ, which noted that the President's tweets have already been labeled repeatedly in throughout the 2020 campaign trail and even after the election, often with a warning that “this claim about election fraud is disputed.”