On Wednesday, January 20, 2021, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will both be sworn into office during the United States’ 59th Presidential Inauguration.
This year, multiple challenging circumstances will require that most people experience this historic ceremony virtually. As Twitter will serve as both a venue for people to watch and talk about this political event, and play a key role in facilitating the transfer of official government communication channels, we want to be transparent and clear about what people should expect to see on the platform.
Protecting the public conversation
In our January 12 update following the riots in Washington, DC, we outlined the steps we’re taking to protect the public conversation on Twitter from attempts to incite violence, organize attacks, and share deliberately misleading information about the election outcome. These efforts, including our open lines of communication with law enforcement, will continue through the inauguration and will adapt as needed if circumstances change in real-time.
Watching Inauguration 2021 live
People on Twitter will be able to watch the inauguration ceremony and the coverage surrounding it via live streams from multiple news outlets and official inauguration feeds, including @JCCIC and @BidenInaugural, through Twitter’s US Elections Hub.
Alongside the livestream of inauguration events, the hub will also include curated Moments, Lists and accounts-to-follow recommendations from trusted and official sources.
Transferring Institutional White House Twitter accounts
As we did in 2017, Twitter is actively working with the US government to support the archival and transition of Twitter accounts across administrations.
As President-elect Biden is sworn in on January 20, 2021, Twitter will facilitate the transfer of institutional White House Twitter accounts, including: @WhiteHouse, @POTUS, @VP, @FLOTUS, and @PressSec.
First, Twitter will transfer current institutional accounts to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) where the Tweets and account history will remain publicly available and the account usernames will be updated to reflect their archived status. For example, the Trump administration’s @POTUS account will be publicly archived as @POTUS45, just as the Obama administration’s account was archived as @POTUS44.
Once this archival process is completed, Twitter will transfer the institutional accounts to the Biden administration to assume ownership, along with a new account: @SecondGentleman.
People on Twitter will be able to watch the transition of power take place in real-time as accounts for the White House, President, Vice President, First Lady and White House Press Secretary inherit their new institutional usernames: @Transition46 will become @WhiteHouse, @PresElectBiden will become @POTUS, @SenKamalaHarris will become @VP, @FLOTUSBiden will become @FLOTUS, and @PressSecPsaki will become @PressSec. The Tweets, account history, and followers will transition between these accounts.
These institutional accounts will not automatically retain the followers from the prior administration. People on Twitter who previously followed institutional White House Twitter accounts, or who currently follow relevant Biden or Harris Twitter accounts, will receive in-app alerts and other prompts that will notify them about the archival process, as well as give them the option to follow the new administration’s Twitter accounts. The new institutional accounts will also be listed in Twitter’s US Elections Hub during the presidential inauguration.