Science goes rogue: United States government agencies tackle Trump on Twitter

Janis ColeJan 28, 2017

Under these demands, the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) has been banned from tweeting after it released content which the Trump administration took offence to.

Trump famously rejected the science of climate change when he tweeted in 2012 that climate change is a hoax, "created by and for the Chinese in order to make USA manufacturing non-competitive".

It comes as several other federal government departments including the Interior Department, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health, were issued directives this week from the Trump White House to curb their flow of information to the public on topics related to environmental issues. The accounts were reactivated the next day. Logistically, Twitter also offers a layer of anonymity, as well as a chance to share an account among multiple disgruntled authors.

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"If I want to send you "climate change data" and I tell you to go download a PDF, imagine the thousands of people who have clicked that link and downloaded a document like that", said cyber security expert and certified ethical hacker Charles Tendell. Another employee tweeted that while Trump can take away their Twitter, he can never take their free time, the Sky News says. Yet now it seems that there are many other Trump-haters who have formed rogue accounts that spout stuff that doesn't tally with Trump's point (s) of view.

Among those was the creation of an account called Rogue NASA, which appears to have been created by one or more scientists from within the organisation.

The Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the National Weather Service and the Centers for Disease Control are other government agencies who have also set up their own rogue Twitter accounts in order to feed facts to members of the public, which otherwise wouldn't be allowed now. Much of the information posted by similar accounts is also freely available, describing the new president's crackdown on scientific agencies, or anecdotal: reports of supposed White House workings already detailed in other publications.

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NPR reached out to the self-proclaimed "unofficial resistance team" for a comment, but did not hear back. Many accounts are tweeting facts about carbon emissions and climate change, using #Climate and #Resist.

Within hours, unofficial resistance, or rogue, Twitter accounts began sprouting up, emblazoned with the logos of government agencies, the list growing to at least 14 such sites by Wednesday afternoon.

But Trump has promised to review and possibly pull out of the agreement despite how executives at ExxonMobil, the largest United States oil and gas company, this week praised the climate deal as a "monumental" achievement.

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