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Badlands National Park deletes climate change tweets after its account was ‘compromised’

Badlands National Park deletes climate change tweets after its account was ‘compromised’

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Badlands National Park Closed Due To Government Shutdown
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The stream of tweets about climate change that appeared on the Badlands National Park’s Twitter account today were deleted because the account had been “compromised,” a US National Parks official tells BuzzFeed News. The official said that the tweets — which listed facts about the rise in global temperature — were the work of “a former employee who was not currently authorized to use the park’s account,” claiming that the park had not been ordered to remove the tweets by government agencies.

It’s not clear who posted the tweets, but the Badlands National Park is currently in the midst of a heavy snowfall, superintendent Michael Pflaum told Quartz. Pflaum said he was aware of the tweets, but didn’t know who had posted them, as the administrative center was closed and staff had been working to clear snow from roads and paths. “We’ve got the full on-scale blizzard going,” Pflaum said. “We’re shut down.” Older tweets referencing climate change remain visible on the account.

The tweets were deleted a short time after appearing online, just as several other tweets and retweets that appeared to rail against Trump’s policies — and the man himself — were quietly removed from government Twitter accounts. These included the National Park Service’s official Twitter presence, which had retweeted pictures showing Trump’s lightly attended inauguration speech side-by-side with Barack Obama’s 2009 ceremony.

The Trump administration’s reaction to the slight appears to have been to ban all use of government Twitter accounts until further notice. Gizmodo reported that NPS employees were sent an email last week that directed them to stop using official accounts, by decree from Washington. Other Department of Interior Bureaus were also subject to the clampdown, the email said, with the expectation that there were to be “absolutely no posts to Twitter” until further guidance was provided.

Both the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency were reportedly included in this ban. The NPS was allowed to tweet again on Saturday, making a public apology in which it said that it regretted the “mistaken RTs” from its account, and that it “[looked] forward to continuing to share the beauty and history of our parks with you.”

In addition to the block on Twitter use, the Trump administration also banned multiple government agencies from sharing scientific research with the public this week, and froze grants and contracts from the EPA. A group of scientists have planned a march on Washington in response — a cause championed by @AltUSNatlParkService, a Twitter account that describes itself as the “official ‘resistance’ account of the U.S. National Park Service.”