In what’s likely a sign of things to come in a much more internet-capable Presidential Administration with Joe Biden, the first update to Whitehouse.gov today included a secret message. The message appeared in the basic HTML of the website, delivering an Easter Egg to coders reading the source. The message read as follows: “If you’re reading this, we need your help building back better.”
The message also included a URL connecting to the USDS (United States Digital Service) dot gov. The United States Digital Service was formed in August of 2014 at the tail end of the Obama administration. The U.S. Digital Service was created in part by Jennifer Pahlka, US Deputy CTO in 2013 as the USA equivalent to the UK’s Government Digital Service.
The US Digital Service is named in President Biden’s $1.9 trillion dollar COVID-19 relief package. According to the package text, $200 million is reserved for Providing the Information Technology Oversight and Reform fund. This money “will allow for the rapid hiring of hundreds of experts to support the federal Chief Information Security Officer and U.S. Digital Service.
This update is one of a variety made as the Biden Administration is given control of official websites and social media accounts reserved for the President of the United States. This also includes @POTUS and @WhiteHouse* on Twitter, WhiteHouse on YouTube and White House on Facebook and White House on Instagram.
*The account formerly appearing as @Transition46 was transferred to @WhiteHouse – this account now assumes all @Transition46 Tweets since inception back in November of 2020. @Flotus on Twitter is now controlled by Jill Biden.