Screengrab via hangingsliders/Twitter

National Park Service deletes tweets about climate change amid Trump information lockdown

It is not clear whether or not the park was required to delete the messages.

Feb 28, 2020, 5:04 pm*

Tech

Lauren L'Amie 

Lauren L'Amie

The Badlands National Park Twitter has deleted three tweets posted on Tuesday that explicitly cited climate change facts.

“Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years. #climate,” the park tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

The tweets come in the wake of the Trump administration’s lockdown across several government agencies’ communication privileges on social media. After questions over whether the park was required to delete the messages, the National Parks Service said in a statement sent to BuzzFeed that a former employee who retained access to the account posted the tweets. They were deleted because the former employee was not authorized to use the @BadlandsNPS account at this time.

“At this time, National Park Service social media managers are encouraged to continue the use of Twitter to post information relating to public safety and park information, with the exception of content related to national policy issues,” NPS said in the statement.

Trump is a climate change skeptic, and his administration removed Obama’s “Climate Action Plan” from the White House website on Friday. It also removed any previous mention of climate change from the site.

Just last week, the Interior Department was temporarily suspended from all tweeting privileges across numerous accounts, following two retweets on the NPS account that were critical of Trump.

The NPS called out the “mistaken retweets” from its account in a follow-up tweet, shortly after its privileges were restored.

During the early days of Trump’s presidency, several federal agencies have been restricted from releasing information to the public under a temporary media blackout, according to the Associated Press.

The Badlands tweets come days after AP released information about emails sent to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff, which declared bans on blog posts, press releases, or posts on the EPA’s social media accounts. A temporary suspension of all new business activities was also implemented.

While an unnamed Department of Health and Human Services source told Politico that HHS was instructed not to correspond with any public, state, or local officials until Feb. 3, the agency told the Daily Dot that the report was incorrect.

Bars on external communication have also been placed on the Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, and the Department of Transportation. 

Update 7:13pm CT, Jan. 24: According to BuzzFeed, the original climate change tweets were from a former employee of Badlands National Park who still had access to the compromised account. 

Update 10:14pm CT, Jan. 24: HHS denies reports that it is forbidden from speaking with the press or public.

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*First Published: Jan 24, 2017, 7:28 pm