The TSA's Social Media Campaign Is Backfiring

July 30th 2016

Lucy Tiven

Americans love to hate on airline security — as evidenced by the rousing cheers elicited when Donald Trump exclaimed "we will fix TSA at the airports!" during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.

In what may or may not be a coincidence, on Thursday, the Transportation Security Administration trotted out a lively social media campaign on the @TSA Instagram page.


A photo posted by TSA (@tsa) on

"Have you ever debated about whether or not you can pack a certain item in your checked or carry-on bag?" the agency's post asks.

"Now you can simply snap a picture and tweet it to @AskTSA or send it via Facebook Messenger and our team will get back to you promptly with an answer," it continues. The agency is also sharing images of items you can and cannot take aboard on a different the Instagram acccount, @AskTSA, which was created in 2015, according to Mental Floss.


A photo posted by Ask TSA (@asktsa) on

So, while the campaign is not a *brand new* idea, it seems to have been rehashed it in hopes of making airports fun again and educating people about the TSA's actual regulations.

These are perfectly noble purposes. It's common knowledge that the TSA is widely disliked and its rules often misunderstood.

Internet users have voiced their frustration with the agency in various social media trends dating back to at least 2010, according to Pew Research.

When Twitter users caught wind of the campaign, they started trolling the TSA pretty quickly.

One asked if it was ok to bring Harambe, the slaughtered gorilla, on her flight.

Another inquired about noted TSA critic Donald Trump.

The TSA, for its part, had a sense of humor about it.

But they also managed to answer some earnest questions about air travel.

Vaping and traveling with marijuana were both addressed.

The TSA is supposed to turn over confiscated marijuana to local authorities.

Though this isn't always enforced, it's useful to be aware of the laws if you are a patient traveling with medical marijuana or live in a state where recreational marijuana is legal.

"There's a lot of anecdotal evidence that if the TSA at the Denver, Colorado airport find marijuana they just take it and throw it away, as opposed to prosecuting people," Franklin Snyder, a professor at Texas A&M University School of Law and a marijuana law blogger, previously told ATTN: in an interview.

You can learn more about what you can and can't take on your flight and search for specific items on the TSA's official website.

[h/t Jezebel]