The United States of America inaugurated the new administration of President Joe Biden on January 20. What followed was a series of executive orders signed by the new president which among other things rescinded a number of policies by the Trump administration and brought America back into the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Tech companies also congratulated the incoming president while others slammed the former president with more suspensions. So, without further ado, here are the top 5 tech events that occurred after Biden officially came into power.
Official presidential accounts begin with zero following on Twitter
The Twitter accounts of the US president, as well as those of other White House officials, have been reset to start from zero followers. This follows the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States.
For Biden and his team, this puts them at a distinct digital disadvantage at least for the time being because the previous accounts had gathered a considerable following that made it easy to reach a large number of people at once.
The president’s account, @POTUS, had 33.3 million followers at the time of Trump’s departure while @WhiteHouse had 26.1 million. Trump’s @POTUS account will be archived as the @POTUS45 and Biden’s will be the active @POTUS account from now till the end of his tenure.
It has not always been like this as President Trump inherited the following of Barack Obama which grew bigger thereafter. The new accounts are gaining momentum, however, and @POTUS already has 4.8 million followers while @WhiteHouse has 3.2 million. Other archived accounts include those of the Press Secretaries and the First Lady.
Big tech companies declare support for President Biden
Apple, Google and Twitter have publicly announced their support for Biden’s move to reform immigration and give non-citizens a chance to get American citizenship.
Biden signed 17 executive orders on January 20, his first day in office, with one of them addressing immigration reform. The orders extended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for another four years and also overturns the travel bans imposed by Trump’s administration on mostly Muslim-majority countries including one on Nigeria.
In a statement, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, said “We welcome President Biden’s commitment to pursuing comprehensive immigration reform that reflects the American values of justice, fairness and dignity. This effort will strengthen American communities and the pathways to the opportunity this country has long fostered.”
Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, also tweeted, “We applaud @POTUS‘s quick action on COVID relief, the Paris Climate Accord, and immigration reform. Google has supported action on these important issues and we look forward to working with the new administration to help the US recover from the pandemic and grow our economy.”
Twitter also tweeted in support, saying, “DACA Executive Order signed this evening delivers hope for #Dreamers. Diversity makes the US, our company, and our world better.”
Amazon to Assist Biden with vaccination of 100m Americans
Amazon said it is ready to assist the Biden administration with vaccine rollout to 100 million Americans within the first 100 days in office. In a letter sent to the new president, the company said it will leverage its IT and other capabilities to help make that happen.
In the letter, Amazon’s Worldwide Consumer CEO, Dave Clark, said the company is prepared to help with vaccination of Americans at its facilities through its partnerships with third-party healthcare providers. This is in stark contrast to the relationship between Amazon and the Trump administration when it was in power.
Americans to enjoy more access to broadband
One of Biden’s major goals has been to reduce the digital divide that has cut off most Americans from work and quality education. Due to the ongoing pandemic, most offices and schools have been closed and activities have moved online. However, some citizens are still unable to work or get quality education in these times because of a lack of access to broadband in their homes.
Although the president hasn’t shared a clearly outlined plan yet on how to tackle this, suggestions for improvements have come in concerning the E-rate program, which will help schools and libraries obtain affordable broadband access. Expanding internet access is one of the priorities of Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan and will continually work to create “universal broadband” for every American.
Twitch banned Trump indefinitely
Okay, so, Inauguration Day was not all about President Biden as Donald Trump got one (last?) hit from another social platform, Twitch. The company suspended the former president indefinitely just as he became a private citizen again.
Following the paths of YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, Trump’s account on Twitch was frozen the day after the Capitol riot, based on the potential to further incite violence. Even then, people could watch his past streams and the account was still active with the limitation being that he couldn’t do any more live streams.
The indefinite suspension takes Twitch’s earlier ban even further as Trump’s account has now been removed from the platform after been suspended indefinitely.
“We have indefinitely suspended President Trump’s Twitch channel due to the ongoing risk of further incitement of violence,” a Twitch spokesperson told The Verge in an email.
Featured Image Credit: Jim Watson/AFP via BBC
Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!