"No excuses" for @POTUS error that affected more than half a million users...
While the transition of power in Washington DC ran fairly smoothly last Friday – bar some drama over the reporting of attendance at the inauguration – it was an altogether messier affair on Twitter as Donald Trump, now ensconced in the White House, took over the @POTUS reins from the outgoing Barack Obama.
Another week, another case of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey attempting to address a PR nightmare for the microblogging service.
At a minute past noon on Friday, the slate was wiped clean on @POTUS, with Obama's tweets now archived on @POTUS44. While it made sense that Trump would retain the follower numbers @POTUS had due to it being an institutional rather than personal account – with it taking a number of hours for these 14.3m to transfer – issues arose when it came to people who had previously unfollowed the account being re-added, and fresh followers of @POTUS44 also being added to Trump's account. Over half a million users were affected, with the company moving to correct the errors and apologise unreservedly.
All: we investigated what happened here, and we made some mistakes (which have been corrected). Some context first. https://t.co/W1n3Xs6LaN— jack (@jack) January 21, 2017
Dorsey released this statement to clear matters up:
The Obama Administration worked with all their platforms to craft a transition plan. Because @POTUS is an institutional account (not personal) they felt it only fair to transition accounts with followers intact, but 0 tweets. We kicked off that plan at 12p Eastern yesterday.
If you were following @POTUS before 12pET, by end of day you’d be following *two* accounts: @POTUS44 (44th Admin) and @POTUS (45th Admin).
Two issues were reported during the day which we spent the night confirming and have now corrected:
1. People who followed @POTUS44 (Obama Admin) after 12pET were mistakenly set to also follow @POTUS (Trump Admin).
2. Some people who unfollowed @POTUS in the past were mistakenly marked to now follow @POTUS We believe this affected about 560,000 people.
This was a mistake, it wasn’t right, we own it, and we apologize. No excuses. This also affected other official Administration accounts like @VP, @WhiteHouse, and @PressSec. We believe we’ve corrected all accounts to reflect your follow/unfollow intent. We’re sorry for the mistakes made here, and thank you all.
Picture by Steven Senne AP/Press Association Images
Since Trump took control of @POTUS (whilst still tweeting @realDonaldTrump, which has 21.6m followers), Gizmodo has raised concerns over his deletion of a couple of messages.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted: "I am honered (sic) to serve you, the great American People, as your 45th President of the United States!”
He then deleted it do to the "honored" misspelling and re-posted a corrected message. This tweet too, was subsequently deleted. Gizmodo has suggested this may be illegal, as it breaks rules regarding archiving official records.
"Both the Freedom of Information Act and Presidential Records Act require the commander in chief to painstakingly preserve all records of federal government actions and communications."