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Twitter’s Accidental Follow Blunder

Before the famous US presidential elections 2016, President Obama used the official handle @POTUS. But, when a president leaves office, the tweets are transferred from the official @POTUS handle to a new handle – which in Obama’s case is @POTUS44. The old handle is then taken over by the current president, which in this case is Donald Trump. The controversy is that, while many people chose to un-follow the @POTUS handle after the elections, twitter apparently “forced” users to follow the account that is now owned by Trump.

These users were also automatically made to follow the other White House admin accounts. The whole situation, obviously, caused chaos, especially among people who had strong views against the new president and his tweets. According to reports, about 560,000 users were affected by this spooky transition, and a majority of the users found themselves following the account even after they had un-followed @POTUS. An ex-Twitter head of product also faced the same situation.

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reported that it was a script issue, and would get resolved in some time and that the team is actively looking into the issue. His official statement, put forward in a series of tweets, was –

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“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.”

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