The viral tweet about Trump refusing to provide Biden his @POTUS followers is incorrect, even whether it is on-brand

President Trump speaks earlier than signing an government order focusing on social media platforms for perceived anti-conservative bias. | Brendan Smialowski/AFP by way of Getty Photos

The confusion over what occurs to Trump’s official White Home Twitter accounts, briefly defined.

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

The switch has turn out to be a difficulty between Twitter and the Biden transition crew, based on the Wall Road Journal. The Biden crew desires to maintain the followers of these accounts, as was the case for the Obama-Trump transition. 4 years in the past, and coping with this subject for the primary time, the Obama administration made it a degree to make the digital transition as easy and seamless as doable. This time, Twitter has different concepts.

“The accounts is not going to robotically retain their current followers,” Twitter spokesperson Nick Pacilio stated in an announcement. “As an alternative, Twitter will notify followers of those accounts to supply context that the content material will probably be archived and permit them the selection to comply with the Biden administration’s new accounts.”

Twitter didn’t present a purpose for the change, however the Wall Road Journal article identified that the 2017 Twitter transition had technical points. Amongst them, a glitch triggered individuals who had intentionally unfollowed the @POTUS account to robotically comply with it once more, which many individuals didn’t recognize.

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

However that’s not true, based on Twitter, which stated it was an “inaccurate characterization.” Biden digital director Rob Flaherty agreed.

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

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

Lowell’s incorrect tweet has gotten 1000’s of retweets and “Likes,” and understandably so: It’s in step 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 might make sense if he have been loath to provide away the tens of thousands and thousands of followers acquired throughout his presidency to the one who 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 boost his profile, converse out in opposition to 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 could 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 method onto conventional media codecs to be seen and heard by thousands and thousands if not billions.

President Trump has confronted few penalties for his tweets. Solely within the final yr, when it grew to become obvious that there was an actual probability he would lose the election, did social media platforms attempt to curb the misinformation he expertly used them to unfold. It is going to be attention-grabbing to see how they deal with him as soon as his account isn’t topic to particular guidelines for public officers; Twitter has already stated it might take into account taking down Trump tweets that violate its guidelines (at present, 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 thousands and thousands extra followers than @POTUS and @WhiteHouse mixed.

So in spite of everything that, perhaps it’s for the most effective that the official White Home accounts get a contemporary 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 — versus whoever occurs to be in them — will see and settle for the provide to comply with them once more.

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

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