In brief: Back in 2017, the @POTUS account along with its millions of followers passed from Barrack Obama to Donald Trump, but Joe Biden won't get the same treatment. Twitter has confirmed that the incoming president will not inherit the 33.2 million people following the account when he takes control.
Twitter says it will notify followers of White House accounts "to provide context that the content will be archived and allow them the choice to follow the Biden administration's new accounts." In addition to @POTUS, these include @WhiteHouse, which has 26 million followers, @VP (10.3 million), @FLOTUS (16.4 million), @PressSec (6.3 million), @Cabinet (183.9K), and @LaCasaBlanca (169.8K).
Social Media, especially Twitter, has become an important platform for presidential announcements, and the threat of losing millions of followers hasn't gone down well with Biden's team. Rob Flaherty, the presidential campaign's digital director, tweeted that "as of right now the Biden administration will have to start from zero."
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
Flaherty told Bloomberg that the Biden team had pushed back on Twitter's plans but "were told this was unequivocal." The company said that it "has been in ongoing discussions with the Biden transition team on a number of aspects related to White House account transfers."
Followers of the current White House accounts will be informed that these are being archived with "45" added to the usernames. People will also also be given the option to follow the updated accounts.
The 21.7 million followers of Joe Biden's @JoeBiden account will be encouraged to follow the new @POTUS with a one-time front-page notification.