President-elect Joe Biden has been given his new official POTUS Twitter account, but has been forced to start it with zero followers.
The Biden campaign is unhappy with the move, which marks a change from the previous transition from Barack Obama.
The new account, @PresElectBiden, will transform into the official @POTUS on inauguration day, January 20.
In its first six hours online the new account gained nearly 400,000 followers.
Joe Biden’s own account has 24 million followers.
The president-elect’s team has also registered new accounts – @FLOTUSBiden for the future first lady, Jill Biden, and for the first time, @SecondGentleman, for Kamala Harris’s husband Doug Emhoff.
President Donald Trump inherited the POTUS account’s 13 million or so followers when it moved to him from President Obama – but that will not happen this time.
Joe Biden’s team was told about the move less than a month ago, and said it meant “the administration will have to start from zero”.
Twitter has not explained why the decision was made, and said it had nothing further to add beyond an official blog post laying out transition plans.
In that post Twitter said: “These institutional accounts will not automatically retain the followers from the prior administration.”
It doesn’t explain why.
However, Twitter said that people who previously followed the official @POTUS and @VP accounts, or the personal accounts of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris – would receive notifications giving them the option to follow the new official ones.
President Barack Obama was the first US leader to have an official Twitter account. The @POTUS account was set up during his tenure in 2015.
At the end of Obama’s second term, a transition plan for handing over the official accounts to President Trump was drawn up – with @POTUS going to the new administration.
All of Barack Obama’s official tweets were archived for posterity on a separate account, @POTUS44 (where they can still be read today).