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article imageTwitter is now the unofficial platform for rogue federal agencies

By Karen Graham     Jan 28, 2017 in Internet
After the Trump administration placed restrictions on several federal agencies to keep them from communicating with the public, rogue versions of the agencies turned up on Twitter, in defiance of the President's attempt to stifle the science community.
Social media played an integral role in Donald Trump's campaign, and he still uses Twitter to let America and the world know what he thinks about everything from his view on U.S. policies here and abroad to the hated opposition party, the press.
On January 24, a Twitter account called AltUSNatParkService (@AltNatParkSer) was launched, calling itself "The Unofficial #Resistance team of U.S. National Park Service" in a Twitter bio, according to the Huffington Post. Tweets on the account share climate change facts and its impact on U.S. National Parks and the world. The site calls for more support from the public and the government for science-based policies related to the environment.
Rogue NASA
Since that time, Twitter accounts have been popping up representing the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, and other federal agencies, set up directly or through friends and supporters, using the same mode of public discourse favored by President Trump, reports Reuters.
NASA inspired quite a number of rogue accounts, including @NASAGoneRogue ("NASA Employees taking a stand"), @RogueNASA ("The unofficial 'Resistance' team of NASA") and @NASARogueOne ("Rebel with a cause"). [The Reality of Climate Change: 10 Myths Busted], according to Scientific American.
Readers will remember that the first rogue Tweets came from the official Twitter account for the Badlands National Park, where a number of Tweets by a former employee were published about climate change. They have since been removed from the site. But the tweets are now saved as screen-grabs by many Twitter users, as seen below.
Scientific American
Separating the "real" rogue sites from imitators could be confusing. Apparently, the real sites include a disclaimer somewhat like the @RogueNASA account, describing it as "The unofficial 'Resistance' team of NASA. Not an official NASA account." The site asks readers to subscribe "for science and climate news and facts. REAL NEWS, REAL FACTS."
Reuters was able to contact an individual at the alternative site for Mount Rainier National Park. That person said: "It's not about the people running the accounts. It's about the movement it's generated. We may never disclose our identity due to the current political ecosystem."
One former official of the Department of the Interior said that with 751,000 people in federal agencies feeling their work is being attacked, it gets personal. He added, "You're going to play whack-a-mole trying to stop them? I don't see this stopping."
More about Twitter, Federal agencies, Going rogue, defiance of Trump, communication with public
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