White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs & Twitter: An Abuse of Power?

Rory Cooper /

In today’s media environment, it makes sense that President Obama and his team of White House advisors are using Twitter to spread their message. The medium has a great deal of upside, especially to an administration that often accuses the press of treating them unfairly. However, Twitter also has a downside, because its impulsive nature can often lead to negative results. Today, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs used his official government Twitter account to endorse his favorite bike store.

Gibbs tweeted: “#FF @CraigFEMA so you know the latest @RevCycles a great bike store & special thanks to Ken and others there for helping me with my bike

(#FF is shorthand for “Follow Friday” where you encourage your Twitter community to “follow” or support that account.)

Your first reaction may be – so what? Gibbs clearly likes to bike, and talk about biking, and he wanted to support his local store. It makes him human. Agreed, that would be fine, if this was a personal Twitter account being used for personal reasons on personal time. It is not. Gibb’s Twitter account specifically says in its bio: “An official WH twitter account. Comments & messages received through official WH pages are subject to the PRA and may be archived.”┬áIn fact, next to Robert Gibbs name appears in parentheses the letters “EOP”, meaning Executive Office of the President. He is tweeting on behalf of the White House, and even the President. (more…)