U.S. Army Social Media


Key Points of DoDI 5400.17


What PAOs, social media managers, and Soldiers need to know about
DoD Instruction (DoDI) 5400.17
“Official Use of Social Media for Public Affairs Purposes”

This is a brand-new DoD policy and will result in updates to current Army policies and procedures. An ALARACT has been published providing interim guidance in conjunction with this website.

This instruction establishes DoD-wide policies and procedures to create and maintain official social media platforms, or External Official Presences (EOPs).

It specifies the core principles for DoD social media use and mandatory records management and archival tasks.

Key points of DoDI 5400.17 and immediate actions for PAOs, social media managers, and Soldiers on social media:


Section 3: Core Principles of Social Media use Within DoD


Social media account managers will not remove social media content from official DoD accounts unless there is:

  • a factual or typographical error
  • a violation of a law, policy, term of service or user agreement
  • an operations or information security concern

Removal of content will be publicly acknowledged and communicated to audiences to provide context and appropriate clarification for the action.

Managers must communicate regarding such removal and, when appropriate, responsively engage with users.

Immediate actions for PAOs and social media managers
  • Do not remove (delete) social media content, unless it meets the criteria listed above
  • If you must remove content, include an acknowledgment of the removal and justification in subsequent content and monitor for potential user responses.


Section 6: Authorized Accounts, and Section 8: Personal Social Media use by DoD Personnel


Personal Conduct

  • Personal accounts must be clearly identifiable as personal. Conducting official business on personal account is prohibited.
  • Avoid use of DoD titles, insignia, uniforms or symbols in a way that could imply DoD sanction or endorsement of the content.
  • When in doubt use a disclaimer: “The views and opinions presented herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or the Army. Appearance of, or reference to, any commercial products or services does not constitute DoD or Army endorsement of those products or services. The appearance of external hyperlinks does not constitute DoD or Army endorsement of the linked websites, or the information, products or services therein.”
  • It's acceptable to forward, link or share official information that has been cleared for release and published to an official account to a personal account if it is done in a way that does not express or imply DoD endorsement or sanction of any personal content.

Official Use

  • No use of official position for one’s own private gain, endorsement of any product, service or business or private gain of friends or relatives.
  • Do not use government position in a way that can be seen as the government endorses or sanctions their personal activities or those of another. (This can be any reference to one’s status, name, image or likeness as a DoD employee or member of the uniformed services.)
Immediate actions for PAOs and social media managers
  • Incorporate updated guidance about personal social media use, including use of a disclaimer, into future social media training for Soldiers and leaders.
  • Advise leaders of the policy and recommend they review their social media footprint to ensure personal social media presences and accounts are distinctly separate from official accounts.
Guidance for Soldiers with a large social media presence
  • It is highly encouraged that Soldiers include the sample disclaimer (see example disclaimer above) in the bio of any personal social media account and/or caption/first comment of any social media post that includes official titles, insignia, uniforms or symbols.

For further guidance see section below on Personal VS. Official Accounts


Section 6: Authorized Accounts

Official Organizational
  • DoD or OSD Component or program
    • @USArmy
    • @1stArmoredDivision
    • @TRADOC
  • Managed by a team with access to the account
  • Publishes content supporting a communication plan
Official Institutional
  • Official position title
    • @SecArmy
    • @Mountain6
  • Not associated with a personal name
  • Managed by the individual in the position in coordination with a PA office
Official Individual
  • Personal name or identifier
    • @16thSMA
    • @MGNameOfGeneral
  • Least preferred account types due to the custom name associated with a position or title
Official Institutional
  • Social media managers archive account content
  • Out-going official is prohibited from maintaining the account
  • PA representatives will assess the communication value to:
    • transition the account to the incoming official
    • or archive and deactivate the account.
    • Content on any deactivated official accounts must be archived in accordance with DoDI 5015.02
  • If the account is archived:
    • Inform audiences that the account is no longer maintained
    • Redirect users to platforms to new official institutional account for the duty position
Official Individual
  • Official individual accounts may not merge, rename or convert:
    • A personal account into a DoD EOP
    • A prior non-DoD account into a DoD EOP
    • A prior official DoD individual account to a personal account upon assuming a new DoD position and title
    • A prior official DoD individual account to any other type of account upon departing the DoD
    • The prior individual account expires once the individual is no longer associated with the position or title
Immediate actions for PAOs and social media managers
  • Advise leaders of the policy and recommend they review their social media footprint to ensure personal social media presences and accounts are distinctly separate from official accounts.
  • During leadership transition: Archive official accounts in accordance with the above guidance.
  • Advise leaders to avoid the creation or use of official individual accounts.

Section 4: DoD EOP

  • Limit creating new accounts.
  • New official accounts should only be established if the proposed EOP meets a specific communications objective that is not being fulfilled by any existing EOP or other PA activities.
Immediate actions for PAOs and social media managers
  • Advise leaders on defining the digital footprint of their organizations and the accounts that will release information on their behalf. Recommend approaches that leverage or integrate information across existing accounts and limit creating new accounts.
  • Assess the communication value of any proposed new account IAW DoDI 5400.17
  • Incorporate the above guidance in future social media training for leaders.

Section 4: DoD EOP

  • All accounts must be registered on both the defense.gov and U.S. Digital registries.
  • A “verified” personal account on a social media platform does not constitute an official DoD account.
Immediate actions for PAOs and social media managers

Army accounts will register at the following three sites until further notification:


Section 4: DoD EOP, and Section 7: Maintaining an EOP


Commands at all levels will consolidate and deactivate EOPs that detract or disrupt users searching for official DoD information. Content on any deactivated official accounts must be archived in accordance with DoDI 5015.02.

All social media content is an official communication, and therefore considered a Federal record. Records associated with the EOP must be maintained IAW

Capturing social media

Records must be captured and maintained for each Army Social Media platform. A complete social media Federal record must have content, context, and structure, along with associated metadata.

Address derogatory, inappropriate, and offensive content posted by users IAW terms of service and acceptable online conduct guidelines. Evaluate the content in context, and whether a DoD response was provided, IOT determine if the post is a Federal record (and should therefore be maintained as such).

Immediate actions for PAOs and social media managers

Capturing social media:

  • Ensure you are capturing social media through native platform exports, or other capturing methods.
  • Ensure social media managers receive appropriate training to capture and archive content.

Conduct a social media audit to identify and deactivate any EOPs that are not in use or not in compliance with DoDI 5400.17 and AR 360-1.

Once a platform is designated to be deactivated, the full account should be archived for records purposes. Once records are collected, they should be submitted to the organization’s records manager for permanent storage. Once complete, the account can proceed with deactivation.


Section 4: DoD EOP

  • New platforms must be vetted by DISA.
  • Do not use, test or otherwise engage on new platforms under an official account before DISA’s vetting.
  • Some social media platforms currently approved for official use are:
    • Facebook, including Messenger and Pages
    • Flickr
    • Hootsuite
    • Instagram
    • LinkedIn
    • Pinterest
    • Reddit
    • Sprinklr
    • Tumblr
    • Twitter
    • YouTube
  • A complete list of approved applications can be found in the DoD Application Vetting Environment (DAVE) - CAC required. This system is a database for mobile applications and approval requests.
  • TikTok is not approved for official use.
Immediate actions for PAOs and social media managers
  • Review the DAVE system if you are unsure whether a platform is approved for official use.
  • Do not create official accounts on social media platforms that have not been approved for use.
  • Do not access official social media accounts on personal devices. Official social media accounts should only be accessed from Government Furnished Equipment (GFE).

Section 5: Branding Guidelines

  • Seals vs. Emblems
  • Service seals on EOP accounts are reserved for official communication only, such as letterheads, and briefing documents. The Department of the Army Seal and the Department of the Army Emblem are prohibited for use by anyone other than the Department of Defense or Department of the Army for official purposes.
  • DA Seal
  • DA Emblem
  • DA Symbol
Immediate actions for PAOs and social media managers
  • PAOs and social media managers are free to use the Army Star Logo and/or the Army Symbol without prior Army Trademark Licensing Program (ATLP) approval.
  • For official social media purposes the use of Army marks should be in accordance with the Army Brand Guidelines which can be found on the Army Brand Portal and the Army Brand Guidelines page. (The Army Brand Portal will end on Dec 31, 2022 with the Branding Guidelines taking over)
DoDI 5400.17
  • Content
  • Impersonations
  • Training Requirements
  • Live Streaming
AR 360-1, Chapter 8
  • Updated Army policy reflecting new guidelines in DoDI 5400.17.
Future DA PAM 360-X
  • New DA PAM detailing procedures.


The graphic below demonstrates use of a personal account in an official capacity and was adapted from an actual senior leader account.

open personal account guidance graphic in .pdf format

Personal Account Guidance

    Inclusion of rank or official command photo, in connection with other information on profile may misconstrue this as an official account. Images in uniform are acceptable, so long as it doesn’t imply DoD sanction or endorsement.
    A verified personal account does not constitute an official DoD account. Personal accounts that are verified as a government account may be misconstrued as an official account.
  • BIO
    Should not mix official duty title and personal information, which may also imply endorsement of a commercial product. To fix, remove titles and do not include references to official positions.
    Rank and name are being used in conjunction with an unofficial, personal account. To fix, remove rank from name and do not use official titles or rank within a created username.
    Posting information in an official capacity through a personal account is prohibited. Soldiers may forward, like or link to official information as long as it doesn’t imply status as an official account.
    Inclusion of an official website on a personal account can easily imply that this is an official account. To fix, remove or replace with a personal website.
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