US Government Agencies Go 'Rogue' on Social Media

Thursday, 26 January 2017 - 7:17PM
NASA
Thursday, 26 January 2017 - 7:17PM
US Government Agencies Go 'Rogue' on Social Media
Several government employees have created alternate, "rogue" versions of their social media handles in defiance of the Trump administration's orders toward their agencies, which have included a media blackout on the Environmental Protection Agency and strict rules governing how similar agencies can speak to the public.

The biggest of these new rogue accounts, such as new handles like @AltNatParkService and @RogueNASA, have proudly displayed this defiance right on their page. Both claim they exist to share actual facts and news about the environment and climate change, as opposed to the censored materials they would otherwise be forced to share. 


In particular, the Alt US National Park Service account claims they were started by active employees concerned about censorship of their official channels (though they've since declared they're transferring the account to activists, citing the pressure it's brought down on their colleagues). In the week before, the department's official Twitter account deleted a Tweet about inauguration sizes, while the South Dakota Badlands National Park account had to delete several posts specifically about climate change.
 
Though it is not known what sort of punishments could possibly be placed on these officials, all attempting to remain anonymous, social media exists chiefly as a form of free speech; so long as they are able to maintain their existence outside of the official government handles, their personal, "alternate" handles cannot be subject to the same sort of restrictions.


There has been much concern on Trump's new restrictions, which include the aforementioned blackouts, as well as requiring all scientific research to be vetted through White House staff before reaching the public. Those who oppose the measures argue it puts a muzzle on any date (on climate or otherwise) that might be viewed unfavorably toward programs that the President is looking to enact. Supporters of the measure say it is merely to keep incorrect information from being shared with the public.

The movement could be considered a direct rebuke to the President since it's all done on Twitter, long known to be the President's preferred method of communication. Between the ongoing debate between facts, alternative facts, real and fake news, it would seem the battle for scientific data will go on 140 characters at a time.

Image: AltUSNatParkService, Twitter
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