The Pentagon's New Social Media Policy

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Report at 0600, use no more than 140 characters: Uncle Sam wants you for his Twitbook account. After recent military restrictions (both considered and enacted) on servicemembers’ use of social media, the Pentagon has finally drafted a formal social media policy, reports Wired‘s Danger Room. Read the official Pentagon document here (PDF). Of course, this development comes at a time when more and more government agencies, officials, and even politicians have begun using services like Facebook and Twitter for public relations. So, military access seems like a natural Web 2.0 evolution. But “access,” as defined by this new the policy, remains potentially tenuous, as you would expect. As Danger Room notes:

The new policy allows servicemembers to use the Defense Department’s unclassified networks to access everything from “SNS” (that’s “social networking services” in Pentagon-speak) and “image and video hosting websites” to “personal, corporate or subject-specific blogs” (that’s us!) and “Wikis.” But it also gives commanders wide latitude to restrict access to preserve operational security. A Pentagon news release notes that the new policy allows commanders to “safeguard missions” by “temporarily limiting access to the Internet to preserve operations security or to address bandwidth constraints.”

Still, for the connections social media can furnish between servicemembers and their families overseas–not to mention that the best policy is always an actual, clearly articulated policy–accommodating the information impulses of those in uniform seems like a great idea.

Source: Danger Room

Image by ob1left, licensed under Creative Commons.

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