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Which government accounts are still tweeting through the shutdown?

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Although government employees aren’t supposed to be working right now, many of them continue to tweet.

The U.S. government shutdown has put 800,000 federal employees and contractors temporarily out of work. While “essential” personnel still have to report for duty, furloughed workers are actually legal forbidden to perform job-related tasks until the government can pay them again. 

According to the Anti-deficiency Act, passed in 1884, workers who get any official business done during the shutdown could face fines or imprisonment. That means there’s no one to run the .gov websites that provide the public with online services, such as the FTC or DOJ, which have been indefinitely suspended. 

HealthCare.gov wasn’t suspended, but it experienced its own uptime issues. During the first day of “Obamacare” enrollment, millions of Americans flooded the website, repeatedly causing it to crash.

Many departments in the U.S. government rely heavily on social media for direct communication with the public. Some of them made announcements to the public regarding their services being suspended. Federal employees in some departments were reportedly instructed to refrain from checking their emails or even their phones until the shutdown ends. 

Other government Twitter accounts, such as @FluGov and @womenshealth, have either stopped tweeting or replaced their bios with messages informing the public that they’ll return soon. Even Homeland Security hasn’t tweeted since last Friday, when they encouraged the public to follow their 7 other accounts:

The U.S. government shutdown hasn’t affected all official accounts equally, however.  Two of the White House’s Regional Communications Directors shut down: 

But other White House staff have remained online and continue to discuss shutdown and healthcare business:

The Department of Defense, was business as usual, tweeting about matters unrelated to the shutdown—military personnel continue to work and get paid thanks to a bill signed by President Obama. Various other government accounts have continued tweeting throughout the shutdown as well. 

#SecDef arrives in Tokyo for security meetings. http://t.co/hc3pjfT8rU

Many of the employees responsible for keeping up the U.S. government’s appearance online may be away from their desks and out of a paycheck, but at least some local businesses have stepped forward to help feed them and get them drunk.

Illustration by Jay Hathaway

Dell Cameron

Dell Cameron

Dell Cameron was a reporter at the Daily Dot who covered security and politics. In 2015, he revealed the existence of an American hacker on the U.S. government's terrorist watchlist. He is a co-author of the Sabu Files, an award-nominated investigation into the FBI's use of cyber-informants. He became a staff writer at Gizmodo in 2017.