Social Media and You

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jesse Lee
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing
For many Americans social media websites have become such a part of their daily activities that most couldn't imagine living without Facebook and Twitter.

According to recent studies, one out of six minutes spent online is on a social network and 73 percent of the U.S. internet population visits these sites each month. The Air Force views personal media sites positively and respects the rights of Airmen to use these sites; however, Airmen must be cautious as they represent the Air Force and its core values in everything they do, including what they post online.

While social networking sites are generally a positive tool for Airmen, using them can also have consequences. There have been numerous recent incidents of service members getting in trouble for photos posted online that show them committing misconduct or for status updates that either catch them in a lie or disparage a supervisor. For instance, the Marine Corps recently discharged a troop who stated online that he would not obey the orders of the President of the United States because he didn't believe President Obama was born in America. Posting inappropriate comments is a quick way to get in trouble. Service members must be cautious of what they are putting out there for the world to see.

In addition to military concerns, service members should be thinking about post-military career opportunities and how a future employer will view what they post online. Employers can search social media sites for information you have posted. Even if a profile was deleted, it's possible it will still be stored in a database somewhere online.

In addition to personal information, Airmen must ensure they are maintaining good operational security when posting online. While the temptation to share information regarding deployments or other movements with friends and family online is great, these postings could potentially endanger you and others deployed with you, and can land Airmen in serious trouble. Make sure you understand the risks and communicate them to others. Before posting, think about how terrorist organizations or domestic criminals could use the information you are posting. Social media shared by Airmen and their family members is a major target for those looking to impersonate them to gain access to sensitive information, to blackmail, or to intimidate.

Information in this article comes from a guide created by the Air Force Public Affairs Agency to help all Airmen interact on social media. You can locate this information by logging onto the Air Force Portal and searching Social Media Guide in the search box.

For questions about managing social media, pages or content, contact the 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs at 481-7700 and for questions regarding legal actions as a result of social media, call 97th AMW Legal office at 481-7294.

Consider your social media content

· Once you post something on social media websites, you can't "get it back." Even deleting the post will not truly get rid of whatever was posted, so be careful before posting anything online.

· Don't post any classified or sensitive information at all. If you don't know for sure whether it's classified or not, ask your supervisor or security manager.

· What you write may have serious consequences. Ultimately you bear the sole responsibility for what you post. If you're unsure about a post, discuss your proposed post with you supervisor.

· Absolutely don't post any information that would infringe upon the proprietary, privacy or personal rights of others.

· Don't reference the Air Force or Department of Defense to endorse or promote products, political positions or religious ideologies.

· Any time you engage in social media, you're representing the Air Force. Don't do anything that discredits you or our service.

· Be careful about the personal details you share on the internet. It's always a good idea to maintain privacy settings on your social media accounts. Make sure to change your passwords regularly and don't give out personally identifiable information to anyone. Be mindful of who you allow to access your social media account.

· Don't post any information or other material protected by copyright without the permission of the copyright owner.

· Don't manipulate identifiers in your post in an attempt to disguise, impersonate, or otherwise misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any other person or entity.

· Don't post any defamatory, libelous, vulgar, obscene, abusive, profane, threatening, racially, and ethnically hateful or otherwise offensive or illegal information or material.