Last week, Interior Department staff were told to stop posting on Twitter after an employee re-tweeted posts about relatively low attendance at Trump's swearing-in, and about how material on climate change and civil rights had disappeared from the official White House website.
Employees at the EPA and the departments of Interior, Agriculture and Health and Human Services have since confirmed seeing notices from the new administration either instructing them to remove web pages or limit how they communicate to the public, including through social media.
The resistance movement gained steam on Tuesday when a series of climate change-related tweets were posted to the official Twitter account of Badlands National Park in South Dakota, administered under the Interior Department, but were soon deleted.
A Park Service official later said those tweets came from a former employee no longer authorized to use the official account and that the agency was being encouraged to use Twitter to post public safety and park information only, and to avoid national policy issues.
Within hours, unofficial resistance, or rogue, Twitter accounts began sprouting up, emblazoned with the logos of government agencies, the list growing to at least 14 such sites by Wednesday afternoon.
An account dubbed @ungaggedEPA invited followers to visit its feeds of "ungagged news, links, tips and conversation that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is unable to tell you," adding that it was "Not directly affiliated with @EPA."
"Civil servants have a job to do and part of that job is to interpret the national parks and history behind it," said a former official at the Interior Department, the parent agency of the National Park Service, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The former official said that while people outside the federal government could be involved in the rogue accounts, employees with whom the official communicated were supporting the feeds.
"They bristle at any political involvement," the former official said. "They're taking that as an attack on their work. You have 75l,000 people feeling attacked. You're going to play whack-a-mole trying to stop them. I don't see this stopping."
The phenomenon was not limited to U.S. environmental and natural resource employees. They were soon joined by similar alternative Twitter accounts for various science and health agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Weather Service. Many of their messages carried Twitter hashtags #resist or #resistance.