The Reason Trump's Administration Silenced a Government Twitter Account

January 21st 2017

Willie Burnley Jr.

On Saturday morning, the Interior Department’s National Park Service Twitter account was allowed to resume tweeting a day after being told to halt its activities by representatives of the Trump administration. The decision to temporarily delay any new tweets, with the exception of those having to do with public safety, came after the Twitter account retweeted two unflattering tweets concerning President Donald Trump.

After Trump’s inauguration, people realized that the account had gone rogue by sharing tweets that showed that Trump’s inauguration was visibly less attended than President Barack Obama’s and, secondly, that the White House website was missing several pages concerning civil rights, healthcare, and climate change.

Gizmodo first reported on the crackdown on the account and published an email sent to agency's employees, which read:


We have received direction from the Department through [the Washington Support Office] that directs all [Department of Interior] bureaus to immediately cease use of government Twitter accounts until further notice.

PWR parks that use Twitter as part of their crisis communications plans need to alter their contingency plans to accommodate this requirement. Please ensure all scheduled posts are deleted and automated cross-platform social media connections to your twitter accounts are severed. The expectation is that there will be absolutely no posts to Twitter.

In summary, this Twitter stand down means we will cease use of Twitter immediately. However, there is no need to suspend or delete government accounts until directed.

This does not affect use of other approved social media platforms. We expect further guidance to come next week and we will share accordingly.

Thanks for your help!

The National Park Service account was lauded, in some corners, for symbolically sticking it to the incoming president. In fact, the account was only allowed to resume its social media work after receiving “social media guidance,” according to Thomas Crosson, a spokesperson for the National Park Service, who told The Washington Post that the pair of retweets was “inconsistent with the agency’s approach to engaging the public through social media.”

Since the incident, the agency has apologized and promised to return to its normative social media shares.