When President Trump leaves the White House on Jan. 20, one thing he’ll have to hand over to President-elect Joe Biden is his Twitter account.
Well, not that one. Trump will get to keep @realDonaldTrump, but the @POTUS account, which has 32.6 million followers, belongs to the president, whoever that may be. And while Trump has rarely used @POTUS for the diatribes and ramblings that have become synonymous with his presidency, he has used it to retweet messages from his personal account to tens of millions of people.
Trump’s loss of that additional megaphone is just one way the end of his term will set off a period of transition with his preferred online platform. While both sides have something to lose, Trump may be the one who will lose more.
The relationship between Trump and Twitter has always been complicated. His constant use of the social network has made it more politically relevant than ever before, and many Americans learned to turn to Twitter to keep track of what Trump is thinking. (One exception was Republican lawmakers, who so regularly denied reading his tweets that reporters took to carrying around printed-out versions of the president’s more controversial posts when seeking comment.) While the company’s mostly liberal employees are celebrating Biden’s victory, it’s become difficult to think of the Trump presidency without also thinking of his Twitter account and, conversely, to think of Twitter without President Trump.
This hasn’t always made things easy for Twitter Inc. Trump frequently violates the company’s rules against election misinformation and has crossed the line with other policies as well, such as glorifying violence and sharing Covid-19 misinformation. But Twitter also treats world leaders differently than regular users, and Trump has avoided the actions the company would likely have taken against him were he a private citizen. That special treatment will soon go away.
Trump was, of course, on Twitter before taking office. But the atmosphere surrounding social media content moderation was much different when he was pushing the boundaries as a candidate in 2016. Twitter didn’t spend much time discussing how to police his account before he unexpectedly won the presidency.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Test All of Minnesota? You Betcha
Minnesota is setting an example for other states and the federal government. If anyone is interested
The Cult of Positivity
WHY BLIND OPTIMISM IS DRIVING US NUTS
SPOTIFY'S PODCAST POWER PLAY
The company is staking its future on converting music listeners to podcast fans and has become the favorite to own the industry—for better or worse
Why the U.S. Senate Is Broken
Adam Jentleson argues that toxic partisanship rose when the filibuster became a cudgel
The Electric Truck That Couldn't
In the past six months, Nikola has faced an SEC probe, lost partners, and seen its shares tank
WALL STREET SOUTH
Florida braces for a gold-plated makeover as finance rethinks its attachment to New York
Yet Another Winning Year For Hindsight Capital
With the miserable year of 2020 over, it’s time to return to the offices of Hindsight Capital LLC.
Social Media Hits Mute After the Capitol Riot
Facebook and Twitter can block the president, but his supporters will move on
America's Missing Workers
Near-record levels of absenteeism could be hampering the recovery
Where to Go in 2021
THE GLOBAL ECONOMY NEEDS A TRAVEL REBOUND. YOU COULD USE ONE, TOO. AS SOON AS IT’S SAFE, MAKE YOUR PLANS COUNT WITH 24 IDEAS TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD ONE SMALL STEP AT A TIME
LA SANTA BIBLIA
Una vez en la escuela, traté de escribir un reporte sobre el libro Rebelión en la granja, pero sin haberlo leído.
The Group Portrait: A Beleaguered White House Press Corps
Four years of history, day after day after day.
Extremely Online: Craig Jenkins
Clubhouse Is Close to Becoming Our New Internet Wasteland - If you love mess, you won’t be disappointed.
THE LEGACY OF DONALD TRUMP
His reign of lies poisoned our minds and our politics, with effects that will long linger. But democracy survived.
Trump Wasn't a Dictator, but He Played One on TV
THE 45TH PRESIDENT BUSTED NORMS LEFT AND RIGHT. BUT THE ABUSE OF EXECUTIVE POWER DIDN’T START AND WON’T END WITH HIM.
BIDEN PLEDGES TO REJOIN PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT
“TODAY, THE TRUMP Administration officially left the Paris Climate Change Agreement,” tweeted President-elect Joe Biden on November 4, 2020. “And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it.”
A Silicon Curtain Descends
TRUMP ESCALATED AMERICA’S WAR AGAINST HUAWEI AND CHINA. BIDEN SHOULD BEWARE BURGEONING TECHNONATIONALISM.
LOCK HIM UP?
Why Donald Trump could be the first president to face criminal charges
THE RACIST NEXT TIME
Trump rode bigotry to the White House. The next Trump could too.
To Depose A President
Trump is about to lose his biggest defense gainst the women suing him for defamation.