The US Armed Forces have a social media policy in place to ensure that its members are using social media responsibly. The policy includes guidelines on what content is appropriate to share and how to interact with others online. The policy is designed to protect the Armed Forces' reputation and ensure that its members are acting professionally. In this article, the Norfolk military criminal defense lawyers at Griffin Law Defense will touch on a few of the social media guidelines outlined in the policy.
Some Key Components of the US Armed Forces Social Media Policy
- Servicemembers Must Protect Operational Security at All Times
It is of the utmost importance that servicemembers protect operational security at all times. This means refraining from sharing information that could compromise their own or their fellow soldiers' safety. By avoiding posting sensitive information, servicemembers can help keep themselves, their comrades, and their country safe.
2. Servicemembers Are Not Permitted To Speak on Behalf of the Military or the Department of Defense
This policy is in place to ensure that the military and the Department of Defense are represented accurately. Servicemembers are free to showcase themselves on their personal social media accounts, but they must not express themselves as speaking on behalf of the Military or the Department of Defense.
3. Servicemembers Are Not Allowed to Use Social Media for Political Purposes
The United States Army's social media policy prohibits servicemembers from using social media for political purposes. This policy is in place to ensure that the Army remains a nonpartisan organization and does not become involved in political debates. The policy also helps to protect servicemembers from being pressured into taking sides in political debates. Officers are particularly vulnerable to this prohibition under Article 88, UCMJ “contempt toward officials.” Officers should stay well clear of criticizing elected officials.
4. The Policy Prohibits the Use of Hateful or Abusive Language, As Well as Any Posts That Could Be Considered Offensive
Even if a serviceman or woman is off base, they are still bound by the UCMJ statutes. One of these statutes requires a serviceperson to always maintain respectful and professional behavior. The same holds true for a military member's online presence. Any posts that violate the UCMJ decorum policy may result in disciplinary action.
Have You or Someone You Know Gotten in Trouble for Breaking the US Armed Forces Social Media Policy?
The social media policy for the US Armed Forces is in place to protect national security interests and maintain good order and discipline within the ranks. Service members who break this policy can face many consequences, from a reprimand to a court-martial.
If you or someone you know has gotten in trouble for breaking the US Armed Forces' social media policy, Griffin Military Law Defense welcomes you to contact us. One of our Norfolk military defense attorneys can help you understand the policy and what options are available to you. Some aspects of the policy are open to interpretation, and we have a wide latitude of defenses that can help you depending on the specifics of your case.