UK Ministry of Defense encourages troops to use social media

August 8th, 2009

The UK’s Ministry of Defense has published a new policy on the use of online social media systems, the Telegraph reports. Troops are no longer required to seek permission to use the sites but are being asked to use common sense about what they discuss and reveal.

The MoD report, Online Engagement Guidelines, says.

1. Service and MOD civilian personnel are encouraged to talk about what they do, but within certain limits to protect security, reputation and privacy. An increasingly important channel for this engagement, and to keep in touch with family and friends is social media (such as social networking sites, blogs and other internet self-publishing). Personnel may make full use of these but must:

  • Follow the same high standards of conduct and behaviour online as would be expected elsewhere;
  • Always maintain personal, information and operational security and be careful about the information they share online;
  • Get authorisation from their chain of command when appropriate (see para 2 below);

2. Service and MOD civilian personnel do not need to seek clearance when talking online about factual, unclassified, uncontroversial non-operational matters, but should seek authorisation from their chain of command before publishing any wider information relating to their work which:

  • Relates to operations or deployments;
  • Offers opinions on wider Defence and Armed Forces activity, or on third parties without their permission; or
  • Attempts to speak, or could be interpreted as speaking, on behalf of your Service or the MOD; or,
  • Relates to controversial, sensitive or political matters.