U.S. Government Agencies Use Twitter to Defy Trump’s Gag Orders
It looks like, for now at least, Twitter might be the most reliable source of information about what’s going on in Washington D.C. This week, President Trump issued a partial gag order to the EPA, Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior, and Department of Health and Human Services that restricted their use of social media and conversations they could have with Congress.
In the process, a series of tweets about the dangers of climate change by @BadlandsNPS were deleted. Within hours, Badlands National Park challenged not just the order, but the entire concept when they created a new Twitter account -- @BadHombreNPS – and posted this:
Hey, friends. Here to support @BadlandsNPS with the science facts they can no longer share!
— BadHombreLands NPS (@BadHombreNPS) January 24, 2017
In the past few days, Trump’s gag orders have been clarified further, and thankfully we’re not looking at a complete communication blackout. The USDA, for example, can publish scientific documents, but they have to get approval before answering any questions about regulation, policy issues, spending, or legislation.
In truth, every administration takes steps to get these agencies on the same page, aligning their agendas. But in this climate, scientists aren’t taking any chances. At least 10 additional government agencies have started rogue Twitter accounts, unbeholden to the transition struggles at the White House, so that they can continue to communicate with the American people.
Donald Trump forced us to remove this page https://t.co/IoCJjbo3SL
— AltEPA (@ActualEPAFacts) January 25, 2017
Here’s a list (so far) of rogue government agency accounts on Twitter
@ActualEPAFActs -- Environmental Protection Agency
@AltUSFWS – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
@AltUSDA – U.S. Department of Agriculture
@AltForestServ – U.S. Forest Service
@AltNatParkSer - National Park Service
@RogueNASA – NASA
@altNOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
@AltHHS – Department of Health and Human Services Service
@Alt_CDC – Center for Disease Control
We depend on these agencies for clean air, water, and land. They support and protect our food supplies, and our health. Projects costing billions of dollars are funded through them. We hope they continue to keep the public informed of the rapid changes happening in their offices, even if it means creating unofficial social media accounts.