A series of climate change-related tweets from the official Badlands National Park account went viral on Tuesday—the same day the Trump administration continued its war on science by instituting a media blackout at two federal agencies.
The postings included factual information such as: "Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years. #climate."
Though the four tweets were deleted by early Tuesday evening, they had already been widely retweeted and "live on," having been captured by social media users in screenshots:
Given the anti-science atmosphere, including the temporary shutdown of the Interior Department's Twitter accounts, there was speculation that the park had "gone rogue" or put "on Superman's cape Tuesday. It spit into the wind. It pulled the mask off the old Lone Ranger, and it messed around with President Trump," as the Washington Post wrote.
According to several news outlets, the park was not asked to delete the tweets but did so of its own accord. An unnamed National Park Service employee said that the tweets were posted by a former employee and said, "The park was not told to remove the tweets but chose to do so when they realized that their account had been compromised."
"At this time, National Park Service social media managers are encouraged to continue the use of Twitter to post information relating to public safety and park information, with the exception of content related to national policy issues," a statement from the National Park Service said.
The "rogue" tweets sparked the hashtag #Badasslands and the Twitter account @AltNatParkSer, which describes itself as "The Unofficial 'Resistance' team of U.S. National Park Service." It is "being run by several active NPS rangers and friends," one tweet indicates, and the account has pinned this tweet:
Can't wait for President Trump to call us FAKE NEWS.
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You can take our official twitter, but you'll never take our free time!
— AltUSNatParkService (@AltNatParkSer) January 25, 2017
And on the official Badlands National Park account, the now-deleted tweets continue to make appearances and be referenced in responses, such as suggestions for a caption for this photo:
CAPTION THIS! pic.twitter.com/CA1MyF4y6Z
— Badlands Nat'l Park (@BadlandsNPS) January 24, 2017
@BadlandsNPS "Hey goat, did you know the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years?"
— Spencer J. Gilbert (@SpencerJGilbert) January 25, 2017
— Clifton B (@CliftonB) January 24, 2017