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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Twitter on Tuesday confirmed that while it will transfer about a dozen official administrative accounts to the Biden administration, it will not transfer over the followers associated with those accounts.

Why it matters: The move is a departure from the precedent set in 2017, when Twitter transferred millions of followers from official Twitter handles used by the Obama administration to the Trump administration. The change spurred public criticism from the Biden's digital director on Twitter.

Details: According to a Twitter spokesperson, on Inauguration Day 2021, Twitter will facilitate the transfer of institutional White House Twitter accounts like @WhiteHouse, @LaCasaBlanca, @POTUS, @VP, @PressSec and @Flotus.

  • "The accounts will not automatically retain their existing followers," the company said in a statement. Instead, Twitter says it will notify followers of those accounts to let them know that the content from those accounts will be archived with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
  • The official accounts will be renamed to reflect the administration they belonged to (i.e. — @POTUS will be renamed @POTUS45). This is a similar process that has been used in years past, but what's different is that the Biden administration will inherit the @POTUS account with zero followers.
  • At the time of this change, Twitter says it will notify followers of those accounts about the archival process, and it will offer those users the choice to follow the Biden administration’s new accounts by 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  • "For example, people who follow @WhiteHouse will be notified that the account has been archived as @WhiteHouse45 and given the option to follow the new @WhiteHouse account," Twitter said in a statement.

Between the lines: Trump will be able to keep his personal account @realdonaldtrump, which has amassed over 87 million followers, but some of the protections he had as a prominent world leader will not carry over once he leaves office, sources tell Axios.

  • That means he is more susceptible to measures being taken against his account if he repeatedly breaks Twitter’s rules.

Be smart: Twitter has not publicly given a reason for why it's making the change, but the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that it may be in part because the transition of followers from the Obama and Trump administrations experienced tech glitches and some user complaints.

The big picture: The Biden-Harris transition committee has been working with Twitter to ensure all of the administration's cabinet officials and staffers are set up with publicly-facing accounts. Twitter has already started to help set up official accounts for Cabinet nominees like Janet Yellen, Alejandro Mayorkas and Cecilia Rouse. 

Go deeper

Twitter pilots feature allowing users to add context to misleading tweets

Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter on Monday announced a new feature, called Birdwatch, aimed at combating misinformation and disinformation with a "community-driven approach" that allows users to add context to tweets they believe are misleading.

How it works: The new feature, which is being piloted in the U.S., "allows people to identify information in tweets they believe is misleading and write notes that provide informative context," Twitter's vice president for product Keith Coleman wrote in a blog post.

Twitter bans MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell

Mike Lindell. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell was permanently banned from Twitter on Monday night for "repeated violations of our Civic Integrity Policy," a Twitter spokesperson told CNN.

Between the lines: Dominion Voting Systems has threatened to take legal action on Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election. The ban comes as he weighs a run for governor of Minnesota.

The week the Trump show ended

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Donald Trump was eclipsed in media attention last week by President Biden for the first time since Trump took office, according to viewership data on the internet, on social media and on cable news.

Why it matters: After Trump crowded out nearly every other news figure and topic for five years, momentum of the new administration took hold last week and the former president retreated, partly by choice and partly by being forced off the big platforms.