Commentary

August 22, 2014

Social media guidance on political campaigns, elections

Reservists on active duty for 30 or more days may generally express their personal views on public issues or political candidates via social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter or personal blogs, much the same as they would be permitted to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper.

If a social media site/post identifies or implies they are on active duty, the entry will clearly and prominently state that the views expressed are the individuals only and not those of the Department of Defense. Active-duty members may not engage in any partisan political activity.

Reservist on active duty for 30 or more days may not post or make direct links to a political party, partisan political candidate, campaign, group or cause because such activity is the equivalent of distributing literature on behalf of those entities or individuals.

Reservists on active duty for 30 or more days may not post or comment on the Facebook pages or tweet at the Twitter accounts of a political party or partisan political candidate, campaign, group or cause.

Reservists on active duty for 30 or more days may become a friend of or like the Facebook page or follow the Twitter account of a political party or partisan candidate, campaign, group or cause, but shall refrain from suggesting that others like, friend or follow the political party, partisan political candidate, campaign, group or cause or forwarding an invitation or solicitation from said entities to others.

Member of the Armed Forces not on active duty are not subject to these social media restrictions as long as they do not act in manner that could reasonably create the perception or appearance of official sponsorship, approval or endorsement by the Defense Department or their service component. (Public Affairs Guidance)




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