The inauguration of Donald Trump as the new President for the United States presented a unique problem: The handing over of the social media accounts to the new regime. This is a new problem to a modern way of life where new regimes have to hand over the accounts to the new government in place.
This was the first time we saw how Twitter would handle the transition of government owned accounts and it didn’t go smoothly. First, the Obama government accounts were given the 44 label (since Obama was the 44th president). For example @POTUS account that was used by Obama became @POTUS44, @VP became @VP44 and @FLOTUS became @FLOTUS44.
There was a problem during the weekend: People noticed that they were being forced to follow the old accounts with the new regime yet they wanted to unfollow them.
I absolutely unfollowed @POTUS last night but I just checked and I'm following again. What.
— Janna Zagari (@jannazagari) January 21, 2017
I know it looked like you didn't need to unfollow @POTUS, but chances are you actually do. I had unfollowed + was following again. Go do it.
— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) January 21, 2017
— Nicole Froio (@NicoleFroio) January 21, 2017
Well, Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO gave an explanation of how the company was conducting the whole process in a tweetstorm.
The problem was that if you were following POTUS before the transition time, you were following two accounts (including the POTUS44). Twitter had made these accounts as admins where the current POTUS account is the 45th admin. People who unfollowed the old POTUS were marked to follow the new one and this caused issues.
The issue was quickly fixed but it had affected a lot of people (560,000 according to Dorsey) and it ushered the new age of the company handing over institution accounts from one government to another. I doubt they will do that to governments from other countries (maybe under request) and it is commendable Twitter fixed that problem swiftly.