Most of @BarackObama’s 29 million followers probably realized all along that the president himself was typically not taking time out of his busy schedule to send the tweets that appeared in their Twitter feeds. But new concerns regarding authenticity have been raised after the president’s social media accounts were recently transferred from his Obama for America campaign to the new group Organizing for Action.
While the current ownership is fully disclosed, some question whether the president’s social network accounts should still be considered officially “verified” after their latest change of hands. The online reputation of such a high-profile figure is an invaluable commodity to both the individual and the organization (or in this case country) which he or she represents. As Barack Obama is the first sitting president with active social media accounts, these are uncharted issues and the Federal Election Commission has not yet established very specific guidelines for how they should be handled.
The official Barack Obama accounts had been maintained by his campaign since March of 2007, even before Obama formally announced his 2008 run for the presidency. Obama was one of the first politicians to recognize the power to connect with voters through social media, and his strong presence online had a significant impact on the success of both his 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.
As more and more politicians begin utilizing social media in their campaigns, questions regarding the true source of information shared on the networks will have to be addressed. But with the growing power of social media, its influence in the political realm will certainly live on and continue to evolve for many years to come.