Mild panic greets Trump digital transition
Much is written about the Herculean effort to move one family out of the White House and a new family in within the space of just a few hours.
But in our modern age, the digital moving trucks must also roar into action, as prime presidential online real estate gets a makeover, and eight years of President Obama's social media chat is confined to the national archives.
Let’s start with WhiteHouse.gov, the official website for the President, which as of noon Friday, has a brand new look - and has already provoked mild panic.
Many noted that pages about climate change were swiftly deleted. So too were pages about LGBT rights and various science policies.
But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Pages about everything were deleted as what was essentially Obama’s homepage was replaced with Trump’s.
That means posts about any former policy positions no longer exist on the White House website if you follow the original links.
So while the web address pointing to the White House’s position on climate change no longer works, the same can be said about Obama’s pages relating to the economy. Unpredictable as he is, no-one is suggesting Donald Trump is about to describe “money” as a hoax.
That said, on the new whitehouse.gov, a search for “military” will yield 154 results. “Climate change”? None.
Nervous internet sleuths have found one reference to climate change, a promise to lift the "harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the US rules".
Make of that what you will. People on Twitter certainly are.
Also wiped clean was the White House's petition website. On Friday, by 4pm in DC, only two petitions were posted on the site. The first demanded the release of the President's tax returns. The other demanded he put his businesses in a blind trust. If either petition gets 100,000 signatures, the White House has to provide a response - at least, that was the rule the previous administration set itself.
From @POTUS to @POTUS44
Speaking of which, it’s all change on Twitter too.
From today @POTUS - President of the United States - has been taken over by the Trump team. All previous tweets from Obama’s team - and Obama himself - have been deleted from that account, but archived under @POTUS44. The 44 relating of course to the fact Obama was the 44th US President.
The tweets were not, as a smattering of people blurted out, “deleted by Trump” once he had control of the account.
Twitter removed them - and that's because scrubbing the account of Obama’s tweets is a smart move for everyone involved. Had Twitter left the old tweets in place you’ll find yourself seeing people retweeting Obama’s words but with Trump’s identity attached, a recipe for misinformation disaster.
Trump’s first tweet on @POTUS posted a picture and a link to his inaugural address - the full text of which was posted on Facebook. Is Trump having a change of heart over his social network of choice?
Maybe. Facebook certainly offers the chance to speak more clearly at length, and, as the leader of the free world, it would be more useful to post to an audience of almost two billion rather than Twitter’s rather limited 300m.
We won’t know for sure until about 3am, DC time, tomorrow morning. Everyone will be surely waiting for those twilight hours to see if the President springs back into life posting his thoughts on his own personal account, @realDonaldTrump.