Twitter has switched control of the official @POTUS account to President Joe Biden just minutes after he was sworn in Wednesday as the 46th President of the United States. The social media giant announced the change, as well as the transfer of other White House accounts, minutes after Biden and Harris took the oath of office that signaled the end of the presidency of Donald Trump.
In addition to @POTUS, the transferred accounts to the Biden administration are @WhiteHouse, @VP, @FLOTUS and @PressSec. Twitter also created a new account for Harris’ husband, Douglas Emhoff @SecondGentleman, marking Harris' history-making role as the first female vice president.
White House accounts will not inherit followers from the Trump administration, unlike with the changeover from Barack Obama to Trump. Twitter instead migrated followers of the Biden administration's previous handles (@PresElectBiden and @Transition46) over to the new accounts, notifying the White House accounts' previous followers of the change. As of 12:20 p.m., Biden's new account had more than 1.1 million followers, and the White House had more than 1.6 million.
The Trump administration's tweets under the @POTUS account are archived at the @POTUS45 handle, as is customary since the @POTUS Twitter handle was launched during the Obama administration in 2015. The archived tweets are managed by the National Archives and Records Administration, which vowed to preserve all "official Trump Administration social media content," including deleted tweets from @realDonaldTrump, which was the former president's preferred account.
On Jan. 8, Twitter permanently banned Trump's personal account from the platform after a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempted insurrection, under what the social media site deemed an incitement of violence. "After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence," Twitter said in a statement at the time, defending its previous inaction as part of its "public interest framework" extending its terms and conditions in the case of world leaders.
Trump's recent tweets and the violence at the Capitol made that framework unworkable, however. "We made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things," the tech giant noted at the time. "We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement."