Dozens of rogue climate Twitter accounts spring up in defiance of Trump

26 Jan 2017

Illustration of climate on Earth. Image: Photobank gallery/Shutterstock

There is a war on between the scientific community and newly inaugurated US president Donald Trump, and on the frontline are a series of rogue accounts from NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency and others.

It has been just under a week since Trump stepped into the role of US president, but in that time, the scientific community has been left in turmoil following apparent gag orders placed on any data showing links between humans and climate change.

In the past few days, reports emerged that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was supposedly told not to have any contact with the media or post anything to social media.

This didn’t stop a number of Twitter accounts defying the apparent silencing, most notably the Badlands National Park account that tweeted a series of climate facts, but they were deleted soon after.

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.

But it is not only NASA employees that appear to be instigating a Twitter revolt. Many of the environmental accounts that have been warned about their tweeting of climate change information have also gone rogue, including Badlands National Park.

Also joining them is an unofficial account for the EPA and a second AltNASA Twitter account.

One speaks out

One new rogue account that has identified itself however, is documentary filmmaker and journalist Jenna Ruddock, who runs the @NatlSciService account.

Speaking to The Washington Post, Ruddock said: “The major impact [of these rogue accounts] is that people are taking note, and it’s raising red flags all over the place.

“One of the riskiest things would be for censorship, whether it’s of journalists or of scientific institutions, to go unnoticed. Censorship is a very slippery slope.”

Already, all of this online rebellion against what appears to be the new modus operandi against the Trump administration has achieved some victories for its organisers, as yesterday, the US Department of Agriculture announced it was to halt an order to block the publishing of information.

According to BuzzFeed, an email was sent to staff of the department saying that the original gag order should not have been issued and that it was hereby rescinded.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic