Matthew Theunissen is a business reporter

What happens to @POTUS after election?

On Instagram and Facebook, the incoming White House will gain access to the White House username, URL, and retain the predecessor's followers.
On Instagram and Facebook, the incoming White House will gain access to the White House username, URL, and retain the predecessor's followers.

The incoming President of the United States will inherit an unprecedented volume of online content left by the country's first hashtag head of state.

The White House has outlined its plan to preserve the digital footprint left by President Barack Obama's administration, and to allow his replacement to access to its millions of followers on platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Obama is regarded as the first "social media president" and utilises new media to great effect - addressing issues of the day, engaging with the public about policy and showing his more humorous side. He is the first to have the @POTUS handle on Twitter, the first to go live on Facebook from the Oval Office, the first to answer questions from citizens on YouTube and the first to use a filter on Snapchat.

The White House plans to make the @POTUS handle available to the next president on January 20. The account will retain its more than 11 million followers, but Obama's tweets will be removed from the timeline. His tweets will be accessible on the new handle @POTUS44 and will be archived by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

This will also be the case for other Twitter handles including @WhiteHouse, @FLOTUS, @PressSec, and @VP.

On Instagram and Facebook, the incoming White House will gain access to the White House username, URL, and retain the predecessor's followers, but will start with no content on the timeline. An archive of the content posted by Obama and his team will continue to be accessible to the public at Instagram.com/ObamaWhiteHouse and Facebook.com/ObamaWhiteHouse. Facebook accounts for President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and the Instagram accounts belonging to the First Lady and Vice President will be moved to new "44" usernames and preserved by NARA.

Similar approaches will be followed with other platforms like Medium, Tumblr, and YouTube.



Likewise, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will gain control of the White House's We the People website, which has over 12 million users who have created more than 470,000 petitions to the government.

President Obama's WhiteHouse.gov website will be preserved and made available at ObamaWhiteHouse.gov, while the thousands of hours of video footage and millions of photos racked up by his administration will be transferred to NARA.

"The past eight years have left us with tremendous optimism about how future administrations might use these tools to create even more pathways for meaningful civic participation," the White House said on its website.

- NZ Herald

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