Ministry of Defence issues Twitter tips for troops
Troops who want to Twitter in between dodging bullets have been issued with official guidance by the Ministry of Defence.
The 13-page Online Engagement Guidelines (warning: PDF) actively encourages service personnel to use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
However, the MoD warns service personnel of the dangers of divulging too much information on such sites.
Service personnel are told to “follow the same high standards of conduct and behaviour online as would be expected elsewhere,” and to “always maintain personal information and operational security, and be careful about the information they share online.”
The guidance says that personnel don’t need to seek clearance before posting to such sites, but are warned not to publish any details of operations or make any comments that could be deemed as speaking on behalf of the MoD.
“Think about your personal reputation,” the guidance advises. “Don’t publish anything you wouldn’t be happy for your parents or your children to see.”
It also warns social-network users not to use their rank in their posts, and to seek permission first if they plan to run any online polls on military issues.
The services are also encouraged to set up official “sponsored” accounts, which have the blessing of the MoD, to describe their day-to-day activities in the field.
These accounts do require official approval, and will “work best if they focus on that individual’s contribution to the wider effort,” says the guidance.
The guidance tells sponsored account holders to: “stay in your lane and at your level. Stick to your job and your responsibilities.” It also advises them to “be natural” and “don’t change your style just because you’re speaking ‘officially’.”