Unwanted Trump in your feed? Twitter says it's sorry

Some Twitter users who weren't interested in following The Donald via the official presidential account, @POTUS, wound up following him anyway.

Edward Moyer Senior Editor
Edward Moyer is a senior editor at CNET and a many-year veteran of the writing and editing world. He enjoys taking sentences apart and putting them back together. He also likes making them from scratch. ¶ For nearly a quarter of a century, he's edited and written stories about various aspects of the technology world, from the US National Security Agency's controversial spying techniques to historic NASA space missions to 3D-printed works of fine art. Before that, he wrote about movies, musicians, artists and subcultures.
Expertise Wordsmithery. Credentials
  • Ed was a member of the CNET crew that won a National Magazine Award from the American Society of Magazine Editors for general excellence online. He's also edited pieces that've nabbed prizes from the Society of Professional Journalists and others.
Edward Moyer
2 min read
POTUS number 45.

POTUS number 45.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Donald Trump may've been sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, but that doesn't mean you suddenly have to start paying heed to his tweets.

Or does it?

More than half a million Twitter users might've worried about that, when they noticed that after Trump's inauguration, they were suddenly following him on the microblogging service, by way of the president of the United States' account, @POTUS.

We're not talking people who'd followed Barack Obama via @POTUS and simply forgotten about the account changing hands. These were folks who'd unfollowed the @POTUS account, as well as people who'd followed the new @POTUS44 account -- an archive of Obama administration tweets -- but hadn't signed on to @POTUS.

Was it Trump's ego at work? Was it some sort of twisted free speech conspiracy? Was it the Russians?

Apparently none of the above. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey took to the site Saturday to explain that the mixup was a technical glitch.

The planned switchover, Dorsey said, would've worked out so that followers of @POTUS would automatically also become followers of @POTUS44 after the inauguration. That way, for those users there'd be no break in the thread of presidential tweets.

Instead, "people who followed @POTUS44 (Obama Admin) after 12pET were mistakenly set to also follow @POTUS (Trump Admin)," Dorsey tweeted. And "Some people who unfollowed @POTUS in the past were mistakenly marked to now follow @POTUS."

Dorsey said the screwup also affected other official administration accounts, such as @VP, @WhiteHouse and @PressSec, and that about 560,000 Twitter users got hit.

"We believe we've corrected all accounts to reflect your follow/unfollow intent," Dorsey tweeted. "We're sorry for the mistakes made here, and thank you all."

Knowing Trump, you can check your Twitter feed at, oh, two in the morning or something to look for any tweets and make certain the change has gone through.

CNET Magazine: Check out a sampling of the stories you'll find in CNET's newsstand edition, right here.

Does the Mac still matter? Apple execs tell why the MacBook Pro was over four years in the making, and why we should care. Read about it here.