The @POTUS account is handed to all presidents who take over power in the United States, and is entirely separate to the Twitter account Trump regularly tweets from.
In addition to the president’s Twitter account, the social media site is also making plans to hand over the first lady’s @FLOTUS account and the press secretary’s @PressSec account.
Nick Pacilio, a spokesperson for Twitter, told CNN:
Twitter is actively preparing to support the transition of White House institutional Twitter accounts on January 20, 2021.
As we did for the presidential transition in 2017, this process is being done in close consultation with the National Archives and Records Administration.
This is, of course, all procedural, and to be expected in the build up to a change of power. However, it’s unsurprising Twitter is already putting in the motions, given the contentious relationship the president has had with the social platform recently.
At the beginning of this month, it was revealed that Trump could face being banned on Twitter if he lost the election.
Trump is well-known for engaging in long Twitter rants, playing it fast and loose with the caps lock, and lately the site has been forced to add labels warning that many of his tweets contain disputed or misleading information – particularly when he claimed to have won the election almost a week before it was called in Biden’s favour.
A Twitter spokesperson told Bloomberg, ‘a critical function of our service is providing a place where people can openly and publicly respond to their leaders and hold them accountable’.
They added that because of this, there are ‘certain cases where it may be in the public’s interest to have access to certain tweets, even if they would otherwise be in violation of our rules’.
Obviously, while Trump is president, there’s no getting away from the fact that him being on Twitter does to some extent allow him to be accountable. The subtext, however, is that if Trump continues to tweet misinformation from his @realDonaldTrump account once he is no longer president, there’s every possibility Twitter could ban him for breaking the rules.
While Trump hasn’t chosen to use the official presidential Twitter much, the social platform will create an archive of the account, once the main account is handed over. An archive of Barack Obama’s POTUS tweets can be found under @POTUS44.