What happens to @POTUS when Barack Obama leaves the White House?

Thanks to social media, news travels faster, and the way those headlines are digested is much different than it was a decade ago.

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On May 1, 2009, Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to join social media, as the White House announced in a blog post that it had created Twitter, Facebook and MySpace accounts. The White House also added Flickr, Vimeo, YouTube and iTunes accounts.

In 2015, Obama sent his first tweet from @POTUS. As the president enters the final three months of his term, the White House is preparing for the social media transition for the next chief executive.

When Obama leaves office on Jan. 20, 2017, Twitter will transfer all of his tweets to a new account, @POTUS44, the White House said. The new president will receive the @POTUS handle and start with a blank slate.

As for accounts on Instagram and Facebook, the incoming administration will own the username, URL and followers and also will begin with no posts, the White House said.

All of Obama's tweets and posts on other social media sites will be preserved in the National Archives Electronic Era Archives. All will be accessible in the same manner as all other presidential records, the White House said. This also will be true for other Twitters names such as @WhiteHouse, @FLOTUS, @PressSec and @VP; those also will have "44" appended to their handles.

Obama's WhiteHouse.gov website will be preserved on the web, archived through the National Archives Records Administration (NARA). It will be frozen after Jan. 20 and made available at ObamaWhiteHouse.gov. This is similar to the procedures used by Obama's previous two predecessors, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, on their websites.

According to Buzzfeed, Donald Trump (@realDonaldTrump) and Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) have collected 12.8 million and 10.1 million followers respectively, while @POTUS has 11.1 million. Neither candidate has commented on how they would handle the digital transition of power, or if they would continue to post from their current accounts, Buzzfeed reported.

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