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US President Obama’s digital legacy to be archived, opened to the public

US President Barack Obama will soon vacate the White House and also hand over the official POTUS accounts he used across internet platforms to interact with the people during his eight-year tenure.

world Updated: Nov 09, 2016 19:20 IST
Shashank Kumar
US President Barack Obama will soon vacate the White House and also hand over the official accounts he used across internet platforms to interact with the people.
US President Barack Obama will soon vacate the White House and also hand over the official accounts he used across internet platforms to interact with the people.(Reuters File Photo)

With Republican businessman Donald Trump’s surprise victory on Wednesday, the wheels have been set in motion for the transfer of power in the United States.

US President Barack Obama will soon vacate the White House and also hand over the official POTUS accounts he used across internet platforms to interact with the people during his eight-year tenure.

The incumbent president has made it clear that a smooth transition between administrations is one of his priorities, and digital is a key component of that effort. Obama was the first-ever “social media president”, and the task of preserving his digital legacy will be an unprecedented endeavour.

The White House web team tasked with the monumental effort is seeking ideas from the American people to fulfil its commitment to publicly sharing the president’s social media content in an easily accessible and comprehensive way.

“...we’re inviting the American public — from students and data engineers, to artists and researchers — to come up with interesting ways to archive this content and make it useful and available for years to come,” a statement on the White House website reads.

Here how they plan to do it: All the content generated will be preserved by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

On Twitter, the @POTUS handle with more than 11 million followers will be made available to the 45th president, and all previous tweets will be archived and accessible at a new handle, @POTUS44. The tweets will also be backed up by NARA, just as they would for other handles, including @WhiteHouse, @FLOTUS, @PressSec and @VP.

Instagram and Facebook accounts will retain their followers too, but start with no content.

“An archive of White House content that was posted to the Obama White House Instagram and Facebook will continue to be accessible to the public at Instagram.com/ObamaWhiteHouse and Facebook.com/ObamaWhiteHouse,” the website says.

Facebook accounts for President Obama and the vice president, and the Instagram accounts belonging to the First Lady and vice president will be moved to new “44” usernames and preserved by NARA.

The photos released on WhiteHouse.gov, Flickr, Instagram and the video content on YouTube, Vimeo, and others will also continue to be available on these platforms with updated usernames.

The White House domain name will itself go the new administration, and the version during President Obama’s tenure will be preserved on the web and frozen after January 20 and made available at obamawhitehouse.gov.