By Shannon Lawlor
Social media has made connection and personal expression easier than ever before. It’s accessible to most people. Creating content, sharing opinions, and commenting on other people’s posts has become a part of many people’s daily lives. While social media has a lot of positives, it also comes with a lot of risks for both corporations and individuals. Anything from scams to intense public backlash can result from online posts and interactions. The military has been particularly focused on trying to contain these risks with their social media policy. New social media policies are being developed to inform young Soldiers about how they can properly use social media. It helps educate them on what to avoid, what to look out for, and how they should think before they post. But how does social media policy work for the military? Does the military check social media? Can military personnel have social media? Is the policy really in place to protect the soldiers? Or is it strict to help preserve the military’s image? Let’s take a look at the rules surrounding social media in the military.

Suggested read:

The Fort Bragg 82nd Airborne Can’t Stop Breaking the Internet

Social Media Policy for the Military

Social media training for military personnel has evolved heavily over time. While different social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be completely harmless, there have been increasing concerns about military personnel’s usage of the apps. This encouraged officials to put social media policies in place to protect Soldiers. While they are allowed to have social media, there are restrictions in place regarding what they can do on the apps.

Think, Type, Post

The Army social media policy encourages military members to follow standards of conduct and Army values while on social media. Soldiers are expected to avoid doing anything that goes against Army policies. This includes the following:
  • Harassment
  • Bullying
  • Hazing
  • Stalking
  • Discrimination
  • Retaliation
Any kind of behavior that may undermine the code of conduct is discouraged. Military members must follow these rules even when they are off-duty. They also are not allowed to comment, link, or post material that violates the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) or release any sensitive information. Military social media rules are strict. But they are put into place to protect Soldiers from the dangers that come along with social media platforms… and likely the military’s image.

Military Social Media Laws: Who Do They Protect?

The dangers of social media in the military range from scams to possible backlash from inappropriate or controversial comments. The new social media policy has been put in place to protect Soldiers from this. But is it truly to protect the Soldiers? Or is it to help protect the military’s image? It’s likely a mix of both. Military posting on social media is no doubt something that should be monitored. Classified information or insights into security measures could prove harmful to overall safety if posted online for anyone to see. But who has the final say in what’s okay and what’s not okay to post? That’s information that hasn’t been released yet, but it’ll heavily play into how the new policy and trainings are followed and enforced.

Why Is It Important?

In the past, there have been issues with the military and social media. Soldiers have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to online scams. While this isn’t unheard of, it shows how vulnerable anyone can be to online scammers. Soldiers have also tainted their careers by publicly sharing inappropriate or controversial opinions. These have faced heavy online backlash that negatively impacted careers. The online public backlash some Soldiers face also taints the military’s image. So, incorporating more extensive online training would help prevent inappropriate social media content from being published or tied to the military in some way. The military social media policy helps train Soldiers to protect themselves from possible dangers online. The social media training for military members also educates military personnel on the dangers that can come with using social platforms. Social media training for military members is an important act to protect Soldiers. But the military social media rules also heavily protect the military’s image. The social media policy is meant to restrict active-duty military members from posting harmful online content that would impact individual careers and reflect negatively on the military as a whole.

Read next:

FCC Comm’r Brendan Carr Says Growing TikTok Threat Can’t Be Ignored

Image: Aleksei - stock.adobe.com



military social media
military social media policy
social media
social media policy

Get the latest news and military discounts