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Donald Trump, POTUS Twitter

Twitter will give Biden @POTUS account, even if Trump doesn’t concede

The social media company is already preparing for the January transition, despite Trump refusing to accept the election result

Twitter is gearing up to transfer @POTUS – among other official White House accounts – to Joe Biden on Inauguration Day, regardless of whether Donald Trump accepts the result of the 2020 presidential election or refuses to concede. 

“Twitter is actively preparing to support the transition of White House institutional Twitter accounts on January 20th, 2021,” a Twitter spokesperson tells Politico. “As we did for the presidential transition in 2017, this process is being done in close consultation with the National Archives and Records Administration.”

Trump himself hasn’t been so forthcoming about the transition to a Biden administration. Though it’s customary, the outgoing president’s administration has so far refused to provide transition support to Biden’s team, denying the president-elect access to funds, intelligence briefings, and personnel.

Of course, the transfer of the @POTUS account to Biden won’t necessarily affect Trump’s output too much, since he’s largely interacted with followers through his personal Twitter during both his presidential campaign and the presidency itself. That’s where he continues to tweet widely-disputed claims about “big voter fraud” and, at almost 89 million followers, the personal account is significantly bigger than the official @POTUS account, which has a follower count of just under 33 million.

While Trump will still have access to his personal Twitter account once the transition is completed in January 2021 however, as a private citizen he will also lose the protections outlined in the company’s policy on world leaders, which allow his tweets that break the platform’s rules to stay up (albeit with disclaimers). If he can’t adhere to the rules after that, he’ll presumably be subject to the same consequences as everyone else.

In October, Twitter also had to clarify its rules after Donald Trump caught COVID-19. In a statement, the social media platform confirmed that tweets hoping he died from the virus could result in being muted or suspended. 

The same month, a Dutch security expert claimed that he had hacked Trump’s personal account by simply guessing his password: “maga2020!” Apparently, he gained access to the president’s private messages and the ability to post tweets to his followers, and said that the hack exposed a lack of basic security measures.