What Happens to the President’s Twitter Account When He Leaves Office?
Barack Obama passed several digital milestones during his presidency. The official White House Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter pages were all created while he was in office. Now, for the first time in history, the transfer of presidential power that takes place this January will also come with a transfer of social media accounts.
As CNET reports, the official @POTUS Twitter handle will be handed over to whoever wins the election on November 8. This includes the roughly 11 million followers Obama has amassed since the page launched in May 2015 (still small potatoes compared to the 78.5 million people who follow Obama’s personal account, putting him behind only Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift in popularity).
That package will not include, however, the current feed’s more than 300 tweets. Those will be archived at a new handle called @POTUS44 while the 45th president of the United States will have a clean digital slate to work with. The White House’s Snapchat and Instagram accounts will also be inherited by the next commander in chief.
This digital transition is a new experiment for the White House, and considering how many social channels have blown up and fizzled out in the past eight years alone, it will likely look different with each incoming president. The videos, images, and tweets that have been published to President Obama’s social pages so far will be available for the public to view through the National Archives and Records Administration. Anyone with creative ideas on how to archive presidential social media content in the future, whether through Twitter bots or physical books, can submit them here.