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A National Park Deleted Tweets On Climate Change After Trump Silenced Federal Scientists

The tweets were posted by a former employee and officials decided to delete them because the account had been "compromised," a National Parks official said.

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Before being deleted, the tweets were retweeted thousands of times and earned praise as defiance of the Trump administration. In his campaign, President Trump said "no one really knows" if climate change is real, a break with mainstream science. He has also vowed to eliminate the Obama administration's policies on climate change.

Employees within the US Department of Agriculture have been banned from sharing its research with the public — including on social media. The Environmental Protection Agency was similarly banned from providing updates to reporters or posting to social media as its grants and contracts were frozen.

The climate change tweets were posted by a former employee, and park officials decided to delete them because the account had been "compromised," a National Parks official told BuzzFeed News.

"Several tweets posted on the Badlands National Park's Twitter account today were posted by a former employee who was not currently authorized to use the park's account. The park was not told to remove the tweets but chose to do so when they realized that their account had been compromised."

Quartz reported the Badlands park superintendent didn't know about the tweets; staff have been busy responding to a blizzard, and the social media manager was working from home.

National parks are encouraged to use Twitter to post park and public safety information, the National Parks official told BuzzFeed News. But, he added, parks should stay away from "content related to national policy issues."

"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."

The park's active account often shares photos of wildlife and scenery, as well as information about the area's natural history.

Their horns grow throughout life and typically reach maximum size when they're 8-10 years old. #ParkScience

National parks are particularly affected by climate change, the National Park Service says on its website.

"Today's rapid climate change challenges national parks in ways we've never seen before. Glaciers are retreating at an unprecedented rate, increasingly destructive storms threaten cultural resources and park facilities, habitat is disrupted—the list goes on. Discover how climate change is affecting our nation's treasures, what the National Park Service is doing about it, and how you can help."

Over the weekend, the Trump administration briefly banned the Interior Department from tweeting after the National Park Service tweeted a photo showing the difference in crowd size between President Trump's and Obama's inaugurations.

We regret the mistaken RTs from our account yesterday and look forward to continuing to share the beauty and histor… https://t.co/5f45p7MHg5

By policy, representatives of the National Park Service do not comment on crowd sizes of events on the National Mall. The park service took down the tweet and also apologized.

Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Claudia Koerner at claudia.koerner@buzzfeed.com.

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