Twitter forces people to follow @POTUS, @FLOTUS & @VP accounts

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Today, the United States gained a new President, First Lady and Vice President. Those people inherited the official Twitter accounts of their predecessors. In turn, some of those not supportive of the new administration unfollowed those accounts. Or thought they did. As it turns out, Twitter has caused many people to follow these accounts again, against their will.

I’m just one of several examples. Yesterday, I stopped following the @POTUS that was used by President Barack Obama and switched to President Donald Trump today. I also stopped following the @FLOTUS account that was used by Michelle Obama and switched to Melania Trump today. Vice President Joe Biden had been using @VP, which I also dropped yesterday. It’s now used by Mike Pence.

Today, I found I’m following all those accounts again. I definitely dropped them, but Twitter has decided that I should follow them all again. I’m not the only one. Reports of others who have been forced to follow these accounts are wide-spread on Twitter:


At least two people even blocked the @POTUS account only to find today they were still made to follow it even though it remained blocked:

.@dannysullivan I BLOCKED @POTUS this morning, and yet I’ve just returned to find the account auto re-followed… but still blocked.

— KurtJMac (@kurtjmac) January 21, 2017

@dannysullivan I even had them on BLOCK and twitter forced undid that and had me following them again.

— NomdeB (@NomdeB) January 21, 2017

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has been busy replying to people about the situation, both with a confusing response that somehow there might be a “replay” of unfollows:

@GlennF@edbott@POTUS if you unfollowed it will replay. Just taking time.

— jack (@jack) January 21, 2017

And that Twitter is looking into what’s happened:

@sarahkendzior@NPR looking into this now

— jack (@jack) January 21, 2017

We have a message out to Twitter about what’s happened and will update if we hear back.

About The Author

Danny Sullivan is a Founding Editor of Marketing Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Marketing Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.


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