What Happens to President Obama’s Social Accounts When He Leaves Office?

The White House recently broke down how the reins for social media accounts will be passed on to the next president.

by / November 1, 2016

It's hard to remember a time before the age of social media, where pictures and memories are preserved on Facebook profiles or Instagram pages. But precedent regarding the abdication of a social media account has yet to be set.

As the Obama administration comes to an end, however, passing the social account reins along is a must — and there are many accounts to hand over, given that Obama has been dubbed "the social media president" due to his wide use of such platforms. He's on Facebook and Medium; he's on Twitter as @POTUS; he live-streamed from inside the Oval Office; and he used filters on Snapchat.

So how will the next president take over the social reins? Kori Schulman, special assistant to the president and deputy chief digital officer, broke it down in a blog post. Some precedent already has been set about use of the White House’s official website, she wrote, noting that both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had their websites frozen in time in order to archive the information available for records.

In this same vein, all tweets, posts and snaps will be preserved through a partnership between the White House and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Measures are being taken to keep the content accessible and easy to find, and the administration is committed to handing over the digital assets created by the current government.

The @POTUS Twitter handle and login information will be made available to the 45th president of the United States starting Jan. 20, 2017. This will also be the case for other Twitter handles, including @WhiteHouse, @FLOTUS, @PressSec and @VP. The accounts will retain all current followers and the posts will be transferred to archived accounts preserved by NARA. The newly created @POTUS44 handle will be the archive for President Obama’s tweets.

Similar approaches will be followed for other social media accounts for Instagram, Facebook, Medium, Tumblr and YouTube. Usernames and WhiteHouse URLs will be given to the next president with content cleared as well.

The Obama administration is committed to ensuring a seamless transition to the next government, regardless of outcome. You can follow @WHWeb for updates on the digital transition process and data releases.

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