In context: Due to regulations created by the Obama administration that took effect in 2017, US political appointees cannot use their personal social media accounts in an official capacity. If they do, they must give up the accounts to the State Department for archival purposes.
United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley was forced to relinquish her personal Twitter account due to Obama-era regulations that took effect in January 2017. The State Department rules state that political appointees cannot take their social media accounts with them when they leave their post. Instead, these accounts are to be archived.
Haley, who stepped down from her position at the first of the year, seemed disappointed to have to relinquish her account, which she had long before being appointed ambassador to the UN.
Due to State Dept rules that were changed by the outgoing administration, I have had to clear my personal Twitter account that I have had for years. The followers, the history, the pictures, and all other content. Please refollow and retweet this to your friends. Here’s to 2019!— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) January 1, 2019
As stated, it sounded like she was required to delete her account, which caused some confusion. However, it is still available; she just cannot use it anymore. Former Obama appointee Eric Columbus cleared this up in a tweet of his own on Tuesday.
"Perhaps Haley caused the confusion by saying she had to 'clear' her old account rather than just relinquish control of it for archiving," said Columbus. "Indeed, the @AmbNikkiHaley is still there with a note that she can now be found elsewhere."
According to the rules (10 FAM 181) set forth in the Foreign Affairs Manual appointees are supposed to use accounts created by the State Department for official government communications. If they use their own personal accounts for any public-record related posts, they must surrender it upon leaving office.
“Senior officials and other employees whose positions make it appropriate for them to engage in official communications on behalf of the Department over social media … must not use personal social media accounts to do so. They must use official social media accounts, created and owned by the Department. All accounts that have been used for official communications are considered Department accounts, and are either retained by the Department for use by the next incumbent or retired in accordance with applicable records disposition schedules, as appropriate.”
Haley’s account had 1.67 million followers when she gave it up. Her new personal account already has gained 157,000 followers in less than two days.
Her archived tweets can still be viewed on Twitter.