The Biden administration will soon run the official Twitter accounts for the White House, but the accounts won't come with followers as they did when President Trump took over from Barack Obama in 2017.
A Twitter spokesperson confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that when the platform transfers institutional accounts like @WhiteHouse, @POTUS and @VP on Inauguration Day, they "will not automatically retain their existing followers." Currently, the @POTUS account has more than 33 million followers, while @WhiteHouse has 26 million.
This process is different from the last time the accounts changed hands, which was also the first-ever transition of the accounts, as they were created during the Obama era. The accounts did retain their followers through that presidential transition.
Tweets from Obama and his administration were archived under new Twitter handles, a process that will be replicated.
Users following the institutional accounts will be prompted to continue following them once they change control, according to the statement from Twitter.
"For example, people who follow @WhiteHouse will be notified that the account has been archived as @WhiteHouse45 and given the option to follow the new @WhiteHouse account," the spokesperson said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Biden campaign Digital Director Rob Flaherty shared on Twitter that the company had informed the Biden team the accounts would start at zero followers. The prompt will probably make it easy for Biden to garner many new followers, though some users will also likely choose to stop following them while in the hands of the next administration.
Biden's transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.