Tag Archives: social media

US Army Formally Defines “Online Misconduct”

In its continuing effort to deal with the ubiquitous presence of social media, the US Army recently published an ALARACT (All Army Activities) message (PDF) defining what constitutes actionable “misconduct”:

Online misconduct, it says, is “the use of electronic communication to inflict harm. Examples include, but are not limited to: harassment, bullying, hazing, stalking, discrimination, retaliation, or any other types of misconduct that undermine dignity and respect.”

The Army’s efforts are admirable, but it remains to be seen whether the changes can be fairly implemented without the appearance of selective enforcement — or how the new efforts to “monitor” social media will be viewed among privacy and liberty advocates. Notably, the Army aimed its sights not at just those who misbehave online, but also those who don’t misbehave but somehow “condone” such action [emphasis added]:  Read more

US Military Tries to Wrap Arms Around Social Media

A series of locally produced public affairs articles by the DoD have tried to encourage troops to use ‘better judgment’ when it comes to social media — following a spate of ‘scandals’ in which US troops have brought less than positive attention to the military. One was an old photo of an Airman ‘kissing’ a POW/MIA painting; another, an Airman who flaunted avoiding saluting during retreat. Others have included irreverent photos of training for Honor Guard details — which included the sensitive images of flag-draped caskets.

The articles have taken the same general, and generally unhelpful, tone: ‘Please be careful’ — but offering little else in terms of specific guidance. In fact, the authors — generally young military Public Affairs officers — often venture into the untenable. Quoting a local Med Group First Sergeant, one said:

Before posting something, think, ‘Would my base commander approve of this post if it made it onto [a television channel]?’

The brackets probably originally said “CNN,” as a First Sergeant Read more

General Welsh Encourages Social Media, Leadership

During Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh’s Air Force Association speech (in which he wore the now-famous Captain America mask), Gen Welsh also made a point of promoting the use of social media:

Welsh encouraged the use of social media to facilitate two-way communication and buffer against communication pitfalls such as “stove-piped information.”

“Chief (Master Sgt. of the Air Force James) Cody and I are on Facebook and Twitter, which is terrifying,” Welsh said over laughter. “Follow us.”

On that note, General Welsh (who signs Read more

Air Force Updates Social Media Policy

An Air Force press release highlighted some specific aspects of military social media policy from the Air Force’s “top social media expert.”

Tanya Schusler is the chief of social media for the Air Force Public Affairs Agency, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas…

The article, as well as the updated cliff notes on the social media policy, continue to spend substantial time on official use of Facebook and other websites, though it does touch on personal use of social media as well — something that is not only permitted, but encouraged [emphasis added]: Read more

US Army Updates Social Media Policy

The US Army has released an updated Social Media Handbook, though it largely focused on official military media actions.  Notably, an accompanying article seemed to align Army policy with previously released Air Force guidance:

Soldiers must maintain their professionalism at all times, even on their off time, said Sweetnam.

They are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and could face corrective or disciplinary action if Read more

JAG: Military May Not be able to Ban Offensive Websites

In the middle of the ongoing discussion about US military troops and their use of social media comes an interesting piece at the Marine Corps Times, where former military JAGs make the case that the Marines may not be able to police troops’ use of certain websites, despite their implication they may try to do so.

The impetus behind the discussion are generally certain Facebook pages that were denigrating toward female Marines.  Said General James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps:

In a May 29 letter to Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., Gen. Jim Amos denounced Facebook pages and other social media Read more

DoD Policies Protect Civil Liberties in Social Media

At times, the military has struggled with how to deal with social media, banning access to it from government computers at one point, then specifically allowing access to Facebook at another.  In the same vein, some servicemembers have had adverse action over their activities on the internet, including a Marine discharged over comments about President Obama and a Twitter ‘oops’ by another Marine — while the military simultaneously encourages its troops to “engage” in social media for family, health, morale, and even public relations reasons.

A recent statement by the Defense Privacy and Civil Liberties Office attempted to lend more thought to the sometimes confusing area, noting that servicemembers are free to express themselves, within some fairly liberal limits:  Read more

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