Twitter apologises after automatically making hundreds of thousands of users follow Donald Trump

The official @POTUS account, now in the hands of Donald Trump

Twitter has apologised after more than half a million users were forced to follow Donald Trump when a technical glitch beset the handover of the presidential account.

When the official @POTUS account was handed from Barack Obama to the new president on Friday, its followers were transferred to a @POTUS44 account being archived for posterity.

But some users who had unfollowed @POTUS, or chosen to only follow @POTUS44, complained that they had been subscribed to Trump's tweets without their say so, prompting – naturally – a Twitterstorm of invective directed at Twitter chief Jack Dorsey.

Customarily, Dorsey responded to the barrage on – where else – Twitter, saying the issue affected "about 560,000 people" and admitting: "This was a mistake, it wasn't right, we own it, and we apologize. No excuses."

He explained how things had gone wrong across a series of tweets:

The @POTUS44 handle now stands at 14.4 million followers. The post-handover @POTUS account, now in the hands of Donald Trump, has 14.2 million followers, with the prolific tweeter quickly getting into his stride by posting a series of images of his first days in office.

His predecessor has now returned to his @BarackObama account, which has 82.8 million followers.

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