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.
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.”