What happened to WhiteHouse.gov?

A number of people seem to have become concerned about changes to the WhiteHouse.gov website. In fact, this website belongs to the current US president, and (as far as I can tell) he can fill it up with nothing but cat videos if he so desires. However, it generally hosts a mixture of current administration policy and praise for whoever the current president happens to be.

Back in October 2016, Kori Schulman, Special Assistant and Deputy Chief Digital Officer for Obama, told us exactly what was going to happen: “Similar to the Clinton and Bush White House websites, President Obama’s WhiteHouse.gov will be preserved on the web and frozen after January 20th and made available at ObamaWhiteHouse.gov. The incoming White House will receive the WhiteHouse.gov domain and all content that has been posted to WhiteHouse.gov during the Obama administration will be archived with NARA [here].

I’ve heard particular concerns about the “open data” section of the old WhiteHouse.gov site. This was archived as well. Not that it was all that exciting – there were several spreadsheets, like the salary data I used to produce the histogram below. Most were poorly documented. US government datasets are generally maintained on specific agency websites and at data.gov. In particular, the White House staff salary data is available in a better-organised form at catalog.data.gov/dataset/white-house-staff-salaries-2011-16. It is not clear what is happening with the developer website at github.com/WhiteHouse.

On the whole, it seems to me that there are far more serious issues in US politics at the moment than this one.


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