Scientists going ‘rogue' on Twitter in response to Donald Trump

Libby Plummer

Government scientists appear to be setting up rogue Twitter accounts after climate change-denier Donald Trump placed restrictions on what they are able to tweet.

What started as a series of defiant tweets from the Badlands National Park Service, which later went viral, has resulted in a steady stream of alternative ‘rogue’ accounts popping up.

NASA is just one of the government agencies that has appeared on the rapidly growing list of ‘rogue’ accounts that have emerged, in the form of the unofficial @RogueNASA Twitter handle.

The @RogueNASA account if not thought to be run by NASA employees (Twitter)

Following President Trump’s inauguration, all mentions of climate change were removed from the White House website while The New York Times reported that at several science-related government agencies were told not to send out any news or post anything on social media without approval.

Whoever was running the Badlands National Park Twitter account then posted a series of facts on climate change as a thinly veiled jab at the President.

The rebellious action gained them worldwide fame, as well as a bigger follower count.

Just some of the ‘rogue’ resistance accounts that popped up (Twitter)

The removal of certain information from the White House website, and temporary freezes on funding and communications aren’t entirely unusual when a new administration enters government.

However, rogue Twitter accounts started to appear in order to safeguard the publishing of facts, rather than a potentially state-censored version of the truth.

Some, but not all, of the accounts claim that they are not run by employees, and are instead independent ‘resistance’ accounts.

So far, NASA itself is not thought to have been affected by any government restrictions on what it can tell the public, but the unofficial Twitter accounts are ready just in case.

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“If (when?) the time comes that NASA has been instructed to cease tweeting/sharing info about science and climate change, we will inform you,” says the @RogueNASA account.

Meanwhile, U.S. scientists are making plans for a march in Washington, D.C. to express their support for research, something that they believe to be under threat from the Trump administration.


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