UPDATE: Twitter service has been restored for the Department of the Interior, and Mount Rainier is offering safety and road updates via @mountrainierNPS.
From The Washington Post: “Thomas Crosson, a spokesman for the National Park Service, the Interior agency whose employee retweeted the offending tweets, said the action was ‘inconsistent with the agency’s approach to engaging the public through social media.’
‘The Department of Interior’s communications team determined that it was important to stand down Twitter activity across the Department temporarily, except in the case of public safety,’ Crosson said in an email.
“Now that social media guidance has been clarified, the Department and its bureaus should resume Twitter engagement as normal this weekend.’ ”
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Original story: It appears the National Park Service has lost its Twitter privileges for the time being.
“All bureaus and the department have been directed by incoming administration to shut down Twitter platforms immediately until further notice,” said an email circulated to Park Service employees Friday afternoon.
The email described the stand-down as an “urgent directive,” The Post reported.
It’s unclear how many official government Twitter accounts are affected, but the Department of Interior includes the Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey.
Mount Rainier National Park tweeted about 4 p.m. that all park road conditions will now be provided on its Facebook page rather than on Twitter.
The park tweets daily when the gate to Longmire and Paradise opens and other information visitors need to know.
A Park Service employee who was not named told both Gizmodo and The Post that shutting down the Twitter accounts was due to two retweets.
One was from a New York Times reporter showing side-by-side photos of crowds at Pres. Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration and Trump’s 2017 inauguration. The other was about pages dedicated to climate change, civil rights and healthcare issues being removed from the White House’s official website.
The tweets have since been deleted from the National Park Service’s Twitter account.
An investigation into whether the tweets were intentional, accidental or part of a hack is underway, according to Politico.com.
National Park Service spokesman Thomas Crosson declined to comment on the tweeting ban, according to The Post. But he said that it is against Park Service policy to estimate the size of crowds at events, because they are often inaccurate.
“Due to the difficulty in accurately assessing crowd estimates for large events, most notably following 1995’s Million Man March, the National Park Service no longer makes it a practice to provide crowd estimates for permitted events,” Crosson said in an email to The Post.
“While we make internal estimates for staffing, security and emergency response purposes, it is left to the discretion of event organizers to make a determination of the event attendance.”
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653