U.S. Army Social Media

ARMY SOCIAL MEDIA

Social Media Managers

U.S. Army social media managers are Soldiers or civilians who are in charge of managing their organization’s or leader’s official social media presences, such as accounts on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. These accounts are considered official because they are created and managed using federal government resources (including time, manpower, and funds) to communicate the work of the Army. Social media managers are authorized by their commanders to release official information on behalf of their unit and organization, and play a powerful role in maintaining the public’s trust and telling the Army’s story.

If you are assigned the duties of a social media manager, you will be required to complete specific training requirements, and you will be expected to serve as the subject matter expert on social media policies, techniques and best practices. As part of your duties, you will actively engage the public, ensuring that you consider and promote unity of voice, freedom of information, timeliness, and accuracy while maintaining security, and privacy.

ESTABLISHING AN OFFICIAL SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT

    • Before you get started with social media, it is important to understand DOD and U.S. Army social media policies, which can be found at the next section, Official U.S. Army Social Media Account Requirements and at the U.S. Army’s Slideshare account.
    • What do you want to achieve/communicate?
    • Your communication goals could include distributing command information, connecting to a community, building esprit de corps, etc.
    • Define your tactics that support those goals and how to measure success.
    • Identify your intended audience.
    • Research their social media habits.
    • This includes Soldiers, Families, veterans, Army civilians and the general public.
    • Your stakeholders, politicians, community leaders, as well as criminals, impostors, adversaries or enemiesare also watching.
    • Ensure you have appropriate staffing and resources (personnel, equipment, connectivity, SOPs) to meet the requirements needed to maintain the platform.
    • Identify primary and alternate social media managers and establish a process for how alternate managers will take over established duties.
    • Determine whether you can efficiently and effectively maintain and manage a social media account.
    • Your audience’s demographics will determine what platforms are most effective for reaching them in a meaningful manner. A person’s age group, occupation, military affiliation, nationality and education influences what platforms he or she will be active on.
    • Consider using a name that is easily remembered and logical.
    • Avoid nicknames, call signs, acronyms or mottos the public may not know.
    • Use the official U.S. Army logo and other branded graphics to develop a cohesive identity that supports Department of the Army efforts. For more information on branding visit the U.S. Army Branding Portal.
    • First, identify your target audiences.
    • Select the platforms and approved branding.
    • Begin drafting a posting strategy based on your audience’s engagement patterns.
    • The organization’s social media team must develop organization-specific social media policies, procedures and training materials.
    • Ensure the material is readily available and provide training to individuals at all levels of your organization, including Family Readiness Groups.
    • The U.S. Army Office of the Chief of Public Affairs’ policy mandates all organizations, brigade level and above, to register their social media accounts.
    • DMD will only register organizations authorized a PAO with release authority and an understanding of OPSEC/SAPP/PII/HIPAA/Hatch Act review.
    • See the requirements to register official U.S. Army social media accounts in the next section.
    • Depending on the platform, a badge shows users that your account is authentic.

      Facebook

      Submit your verification through the profile settings.

      Twitter

      Must log in with the username to verify organization. https://verification.twitter.com/request

SOCIAL MEDIA WORKSHOP 2017

Defense Information School

SOCIAL MEDIA WORKSHOP 2017

DINFOS Official

REQUIREMENTS

  • Social Media Managers must complete two OPSEC training courses:

    1. OPSEC for EOP Operators
    2. DISA Social Networking Class

    It is also highly encouraged that social media managers also complete OPSEC Level II certification. This training is coordinated through your S2 shop or equivalent.

    ALARACT 289/2013, Army OPSEC Training for External Official Presence Operators states that all commanders will ensure that personnel who publish information on external online presences receive mandatory annual OPSEC training.

  • Commanding officer or qualified public affairs officer approval to establish platform

  • Must have release authority to post content

    Content that is released to the public on social media platforms requires review by a Public Affairs Officer that has release authority from the commander.

    • Social media managers are not authorized to speak on behalf of the unit, the commander or the Army without delegated release authority
    • It is highly recommended that social media managers are OPSEC Level II certified to avoid content on their unit's critical information list (CIL).
    • Content released to the public on social media platforms requires an OPSEC review. OPSEC Level II certification and delegated release authority meets the requirements outlined in AR 530-1 - Operations Security (OPSEC).
  • Point of contact: Must list a valid .mil or .gov email address

  • Official URL

    The account must have a URL to an official U.S. Army website. Use your command’s website or www.army.mil if your organization does not have a website.

  • User Terms of Agreement

    An account must have a user terms of agreement statement listed on the social media platform that informs visitors of what is authorized when interacting on the platform. It must include:

    • General disclaimer
    • Privacy and security disclaimers
    • Copyright and trademark disclaimers
    • Moderated account disclaimer
    • Freedom of Information Act notice

    Resources:

  • Labeled as an official account

    In order for an organization to maintain an official social media account, the organization must clearly signal that the account is “official” somewhere on the page in accordance with DOD and U.S. Army policy. An example of the specific wording can be found in the left-hand column of the U.S. Army Facebook page or at the top of the U.S. Army Twitter account.

  • Open to the public

    All official accounts must be open to the public. Private groups, accounts or feeds will not be registered on the U.S. Army’s social media directory.

  • Classified as a Government Organization

    In order for a Facebook account to operate in an official capacity, the account must be registered and labeled as a “government organization” account. The use of a Facebook profile, community or group page for official purposes would violate the government’s terms of service agreement with Facebook.

  • Approval

    Submit the social media account for registration and approval on the U.S. Army Social Media Directory.

  • Security

    Ensure your security settings are maximized and include two-step verification if available by the platform. For additional information about security, review these Social Networking Safety Tips.

REGISTERING YOUR OFFICIAL ACCOUNT

Social media managers are required to ensure their organization’s official social media accounts are included in the Army’s Social Media Directory. This includes all accounts created and managed using federal government resources (including time, manpower, and funds) to communicate the work of the Army. Therefore, after departure from the government or the government position associated with the account, official accounts must either be transferred to the next administration or closed.

According to DOD Instruction 8550.01 – Internet Services and Internet-based Capabilities, official online presences must be registered on the external official presences list, maintained by the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. The U.S. Army Office of the Chief of Public Affairs’ policy mandates all organizations, brigade level and above, to register their social media accounts. Brigade/Garrison and higher are the only organizations authorized a PAO with release authority and understanding of OPSEC/SAPP/PII/HIPAA/Hatch Act review.

  1. Ensure you and your account meet the requirements for registering an official account.
  2. Once the account is submitted, the Digital Media Division at OCPA will review the submission to ensure it has all the elements required of an official social media account.
  3. Once the account is approved for inclusion, your official social media account will be added to the directory.

DMD conducts periodic audits of the Social Media Directory to ensure units are complying with applicable guidelines, SOPs, policies and regulations. Units are notified of violations found during the audits and may be removed from the directory if the violations are not corrected. Posts on an account should be no older than one month, and the account should be updated on a weekly basis at minimum.

OPERATIONS SECURITY

Social media has become a big part of our Army lives. It helps organizations share information and keep audiences connected. OPSEC and personal privacy concerns should be paramount when Soldiers use social media, both personally and professionally. Sharing seemingly trivial information online can be dangerous to loved ones and fellow Soldiers. America’s enemies scour blogs, forums, chat rooms and personal websites to piece together information that can harm the U.S. and its Soldiers.

How can I ensure my account adheres to OPSEC guidelines?
  • Designate managers

    Assign staff responsible for posting content to the official online account and ensure those individuals are current on all OPSEC training.

  • Submit content for approval prior to posting

    Ensure all content is submitted to and approved by the commander or the organization’s release authority prior to posting.

  • Review U.S. Army policies, regulations and guidance

    Ensure all content is posted in accordance with the organization’s public affairs guidance, and U.S. Army and DOD policies, instructions and regulations.

  • Monitor your account regularly

    Ensure external social media users are not posting sensitive information on your official account.

  • Conduct OPSEC training regularly

    Produce training materials and conduct regular social media OPSEC training within your team and with other units in your organization. Distribute social media OPSEC training to Family members. It is important to keep them just as informed and up to date as the Soldiers in your unit.

  • Be vigilant

    Never become complacent when it comes to OPSEC. Check social media accounts within your organization for OPSEC violations. Never stop working to protect OPSEC. Once the information is out there, you can not get it back.

GEOTAGGING SAFETY

Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification to photographs, videos, websites and SMS messages. It is the equivalent of adding a 10-digit grid coordinate to everything posted on the Internet. Some smartphones and digital cameras automatically embed geotags into pictures and many people unknowingly upload photos to the Internet that contain location information.

One Soldier exposing his or her location can affect the entire mission. Deployed Soldiers, or Soldiers conducting operations in classified areas, should not use location-based social networking services. These services can bring the enemy right to the Army’s doorstep.

Guidance on Political Activity

Soldiers and Army civilians are encouraged to express their opinions of the political process, online and offline, as long as they are consistent with the Army values and are not expressed as part of an organized communication campaign or as a representative of the U.S. Army. Such opinions must be expressed as an individual apart from the military and the DOD.

Soldiers and Army Civilians should be aware of the limitations that exist when it comes to participation in political activity as well as DOD support to political campaigns. When posting any political content, you must adhere to Department of Defense Directive 1344.10 , which states that Soldiers and Army Civilians:

  • Cannot participate in any interview or discussion as an advocate for or against a party, candidate or cause.
  • Cannot participate in partisan political activity.
  • Cannot post links to, “share” or “retweet” comments or tweets from a Facebook page or Twitter account of a political party or candidate running for partisan office. Such activity is deemed to constitute participation in political activities.

Soldiers and Army Civilians:

  • Can generally express their personal views on public issues or political candidates via social media platforms just as they would be permitted to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper. If, when expressing a personal opinion, personnel are identified by a social media site as DOD employees, the posting must clearly and prominently state that the views expressed are those of the individual only and not of the Department of Defense.
  • Can “follow,” “friend,” or “like” a political party or candidate running for partisan office.
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