He’ll also get @POTUS’s 13 million followers.

Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, and he’ll immediately inherit loads of power and responsibility. Oh, he’ll also inherit a second Twitter account.

Starting Friday, @POTUS, the official Twitter account created by The White House and reserved for the sitting president, will change hands from Barack Obama’s team to Trump’s administration.

Included in the exchange: @POTUS’s 13.6 million followers.

That means that if you currently follow @POTUS under the Obama administration, you’ll continue to follow the account as it moves under Trump’s control. The stream of tweets will be wiped clean so Trump and his team can start fresh.

Twitter will also automatically follow a new account for you — @POTUS44 — where Obama’s stream of tweets live. The same process will take place for a number of other high-profile accounts, like @FLOTUS (First Lady Michelle Obama) and @WhiteHouse.

So we know how the accounts will change hands, but we don’t know how Trump will use @POTUS, if at all. Earlier this week, Trump suggested he’d continue to use his personal Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, which has more followers (more than 20.3 million at last count).

But he also suggested that he’d soon have 280 characters to tweet, double Twitter’s 140 character limit, an apparent nod to using both accounts. So who knows.

Obama also had two accounts, but used @BarackObama primarily as a campaign vehicle, whereas @POTUS was more policy- and White House-focused. The tweets from both accounts are very polished and clearly reviewed by staff members.

Trump, on the other hand, tweets in a way that no other politician has before, so it’s hard to know what to expect from @POTUS going forward. He hasn’t backed off his aggressive style since winning the election in November, and his rampant use of the product has caused some concern around safety — for example, what might happen if someone gains access to Trump’s account?

Twitter declined to comment on whether or not it provides special security features for White House accounts, but a company spokesperson said it often provides tips around account security to its high-profile users.

The transition of accounts will take place Friday but transferring all of the @POTUS followers to @POTUS44 may not happen instantly, a company spokesperson said.


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Author: Kurt Wagner

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