It’s almost been four years since since our first “digital” president handed over the presidential Twitter keys to Donald Trump.
Barack Obama’s transition from the Oval Office in 2017 was the first time many official Twitter accounts (and other social media pages on Instagram, Facebook, Medium, and beyond) were archived. On Twitter, other more generic accounts like “@POTUS” were passed onto Trump.
Of course, Trump has continued to use his personal Twitter as his main communication tool. That will presumably remain active after his one-term presidency, unless he gets himself kicked off the platform. Twitter doesn’t have it labeled as a U.S. government account, but it is verified.
Even so, now it’s Trump’s turn to pass along any official accounts handles while Twitter archives the the tweets from the past administration under separate “archived” handles, a la Obama’s @POTUS44. That means all the tweets from the past four years will be preserved, just somewhere else.
Presidential accounts are set to switch over to president-elect Joe Biden on Inauguration Day (even if Trump still hasn’t conceded by then). Those include: , , , , , , , and . Other accounts like @StateDept will be passed along, but Trump administration tweets will still be on the timeline (and searchable and commentable).
Based on the National Archives and Records Administration process with Obama’s digital transition, several accounts within the Trump administration will also be switched over to archive mode for viewing only on Jan. 20. No new comments, posts or changes will be possible after that point.
So tweets from Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, first lady Melania, second lady Karen Pence, the press secretary, and other White House officials will still be viewable, but on newly archived pages. Those new handles haven’t been announced yet, but will likely follow past naming conventions — so Trump’s @POTUS account will likely become @POTUS45. Obama had 31 White House officials with archived Twitter accounts.
Under Obama all of these sites were archived. But the Trump administration has only maintained four (the first ones listed here) of these accounts.
@ONDCP (Office of National Drug Control Policy)
@OMBPress (Office of Management and Budget)
@USCTO (U.S. Chief Technology Officer)
@CEAChair (Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers)
With a new social media team taking office, Twitter going to look different in 2021.