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US agencies stop tweeting because of government shutdown

Federal government arms like the Justice Department and embassies around the world have tweeted different forms of "away" messages.

Alfred Ng Senior Reporter / CNET News
Alfred Ng was a senior reporter for CNET News. He was raised in Brooklyn and previously worked on the New York Daily News's social media and breaking news teams.
Alfred Ng
2 min read

A tweet from the Justice Department announcing that its Twitter would not be updated because of the government shutdown. 

Alfred Ng/CNET

The US government shutdown has now closed off social media, too.

Hundreds of Twitter accounts run by US agencies have posted messages saying they would be inactive during the government shutdown. 

The messages vary in language, with national parks like Yellowstone writing "during a federal government shutdown, we do not monitor or update social media." The Justice Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement wrote, "Due to the lapse in appropriations, this account will not be updated regularly."

Multiple embassies around the world, including in Israel -- where Vice President Mike Pence is visiting -- tweeted that their social media feeds wouldn't be updated during the shutdown.

Monday marks the third day of the US government shutdown, after senators failed to reach an agreement on a budget. It means that more than 2 million federal employees aren't able to work, closing off services like national parks, the Internal Revenue Service and key programs from the Health and Human Services department

This social media shutdown is not across the board, as the Transportation Security Administration tweeted its customer service account was still active on Twitter. The State Department is also still actively tweeting. At the Smithsonian Zoo, its web services like the Panda Cam were still up and running. 

Senate leaders reached a deal to end the government shutdown on Monday afternoon, but that doesn't mean the government agencies will return to social media immediately. The vote has to go through a final passage, then head to the House, and then get approval from the White House. 

The agreement is for a three-week spending bill, signaling that a shutdown could happen again in February.

First published Jan. 22, 7:47 a.m. PT.
Updated, 10:03 a.m. PT: To include details after senators reached an agreement to end the government shutdown.