Commentary

Trump Team Suspends Official Twitter Feeds After Critical Tweets

The great Trump purge of the federal government’s social-media presence has begun.

On Friday, after the National Park Service aroused the wrath of the new administration by retweeting two mildly critical posts during the new president’s inauguration, the U.S. Department of the Interior suspended all its Twitter accounts. By Saturday morning, the Department’s Twitter feeds were back up – and some unfortunate employee is presumably on the slow boat to Alaska.

In one faux pas, the Park Service’s Twitter account, @NatlParkService, retweeted a post from a New York Times reporter pointing out that the crowds of people attending Trump’s inauguration on Friday appeared to be significantly smaller than those which attended Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009.

In the other, the Park Service account retweeted a post with a link to an article by Esquire magazine noting changes in the official White House Web page, including the removal of subject headings devoted to climate change and civil rights.

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The reaction from the new powers that be was swift.

According to an email that was sent to all Park Service employees and obtained by the Washington Post, “All bureaus and the department have been directed by incoming administration to shut down Twitter platforms immediately until further notice.” The directive affected scores of mostly unrelated Twitter accounts across 10 bureaus within the Interior Department.

On Saturday morning, the Park Service Twitter feed was back, and the two tweets in question deleted. The first tweet after the suspension read: “We regret the mistaken RTs from our account yesterday and look forward to continuing to share the beauty and history of our parks with you.”

The Department of the Interior also released a statement in explanation: “Out of an abundance of caution, while we investigated the situation involving these tweets, the Department's communications team determined that it was important to stand down Twitter activity across the Department temporarily, except in the case of public safety.”

It added: “Now that social media guidance has been clarified, the Department and its bureaus should resume Twitter engagement as normal this weekend.”

11 comments about "Trump Team Suspends Official Twitter Feeds After Critical Tweets".
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  1. Jennifer Jarratt from Leading Futurists, LLC, January 23, 2017 at 2:08 p.m.

    Your headline led me to believe minority prez Trump's tweets were being suspended. He's critical enough, isn't he?

  2. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, January 23, 2017 at 3:20 p.m.

    Trump writes plenty of unwise and poorly-spelled tweets. I wish he'd stop. On the other hand, he did receive a clear majority of electoral college votes, a system by which all candidates made their strategic campaign decisions. Deciding by national popular vote has been unconstitutional for much of this country's history, like it or not. You can't change the rules after the clock runs out.

  3. Jamie Williamson from E.&J. Gallo replied, January 23, 2017 at 3:20 p.m.

    I read the headline the same as you Jennifer. None the less, this is a chilling article to me.

  4. Judy Bellem from SMM Advertising, January 23, 2017 at 3:49 p.m.

    The last I heard this was still in effect: The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, ensuring that there is no prohibition on the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press...

  5. Mark Burk from BRANDnv, January 23, 2017 at 3:52 p.m.

    and so the slow march to censorship begins... little by little, drip by drip. soon he will penalize the press for its reporting by who we will allow into the Press Briefing Room -- you wrote a story I view as negative, so you're fake news.

  6. Kenneth Hittel from Ken Hittel replied, January 23, 2017 at 3:59 p.m.

    Oh, come on, Mr. Ferguson. This has nothing to do w/ any debate over popular vote vs. Electoral College vote -- that issue is indeed well-settled. What this is about is using the power of the Presidency to silence government information sources -- whether b/c that information wounds our President's painfully-weak sense of self, in the case of the original NYTimes piece (Trump having two-thirds fewer visitors to his bash compared to Obama's); or b/c it reveals all too clearly & pointedly his contempt for government support of civil rights and efforts to fight climate change. 
    Of course this was done well before we received the news that this adminstration will be ruling henceforth by "alternative facts." Maybe we'll have less actual censorship -- why bother to censor when you can simply overwhelm w/ alternative facts, i.e., lies?

  7. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network replied, January 23, 2017 at 5:21 p.m.


    Judy Bellem; I'll bet that the Trump team's response will be that their "directive" to shut-down the Twitter feeds was not a law, sort of, and that Tweets are not "the press", kind of.

    Come to think of it, since there's no longer any actual "presses" involved, Trump could shut-down all media without violating the First Amendment.

    Geez, ... I'm thinking like he is already.

  8. Kevin Killion from Stone House Systems, Inc., January 23, 2017 at 5:41 p.m.

    You see, for those who never had civics class, there are there branches of government, executive, legislative and judicial.  They are, by design, independent and meant to provide a divsiion of powers.  The administrative and regulatory agencies are part of the executive branch.  And guess who is the top executive or the executive branch?  That would be the president.

    Anyone upset that a federal agency would promote PR opposed to its top boss shoud try tweeting criticism of THEIR boss and see what happens.

  9. Ruth Barrett from EarthSayers.tv, January 23, 2017 at 6:02 p.m.

    For a second I thought the team of Trump was shutting down his twitter. Thank god, I thought. Then after a read, it was even worse sounding as in "All bureaus and the department have been directed by incoming administration to shut down Twitter platforms immediately until further notice.” The directive affected scores of mostly unrelated Twitter accounts across ten bureaus within the Interior Department.  Good thing they are monitoring Twitter accounts to eliminate those that actually report news so as to make it clear to not only the press that we are to fall in line, report what we are told or suffer the consequences. As an online publisher we call out the voices of sustainability (video) those speaking on behalf of Mother Earth from all three perspective - people, planet, prosperity- and which include addressing global warming, justice (social,economic, climate), and the economics of fair trade, recycling, innovation, and energy conservation. Have we unwittingly built a database of leaders that can be used to target those in governments and universities who speak out for climate change and against Trump policies, as but one example? Does it make it easy to target thought leaders from the Standing Rock Reservation and those who oppose Tar Sands in Alberta, Canada? Yep.

  10. John Grono from GAP Research, January 24, 2017 at 4:07 a.m.

    Just remember ... Capitalism Hill rules.

    And the US Constitution looks like its headed to the Bebelplatz.

  11. Gina Roach from ArcheMedia replied, January 25, 2017 at 11:15 a.m.

    I too read the headline as everyone did and while I voted for President Trump I would prefer that he not use Twitter as much. I understand it's a need to go around slanted media but press briefings should be their primary communication method. I will say that we had premium tickets for the swearing in but were not able to get to the place assigned due to problems with how Park personnel conducted the entry process. Maybe had some been on the job instead of tweeting then more people would have been able to arrive at their assigned placements. Friends arriving an hour before the ceremony were not allowed inside the area shown in photographs. National Parks did a poor job. If we are all honest here, no company would allow an employee bashing their employer either in the office or on social media. It's not good for morale and it just doesn't look professional on the part of the person tweeting. Everyone, including our President, needs to stay off social media regarding your business unless it's a business account and then it needs to be relevant content to the industry.

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