Personal Use


  • Personal accounts must be clearly identifiable as personal.
  • Avoid use of DoD titles, insignia, uniforms or symbols in a way that could imply DoD sanction or endorsement of content on your personal page. Also avoid misrepresenting yourself as an official DoD spokesperson on your personal account.
  • Social media plays a very important role in our lives. It helps us learn, share experiences with others and stay connected to things we care about. The Army encourages Soldiers and their Families to use social media to stay connected and tell the Army’s story.
  • Many Soldiers and Families are new to the Army, but they are not new to using social media. There are security risks and regulations that Soldiers and their Families, especially those new to the Army, must be aware of before posting.
  • Understanding this dynamic is crucial because, as members of the Army profession and family, you are expected to live the Army Values, online and offline.
  • Soldiers and their Families are personally responsible for all content they publish on social networking sites, blogs and other websites.


  • The U.S. Army is a values-based organization where everyone is expected to treat all persons as they should be treated - with dignity and respect, as outlined in AR 600-20. The U.S. Army defines online conduct as the use of electronic communications in an official or personal capacity in a manner that is consistent with Army values and standards of conduct.
  • It is important that all Soldiers know that when they are logged on to a social media platform, they still represent the U.S. Army. Soldiers using social media must abide by the UCMJ at all times, even when off duty. Commenting, posting and linking to material that violates the UCMJ or basic rules of Soldier conduct are prohibited, along with talking negatively about supervisors or releasing sensitive information.
  • IAW AR 600-20, para. 4-19a(5), “Online Misconduct” is the use of electronic communication to inflict harm. Some examples include but are not limited to: hazing, bullying, harassment, discriminatory harassment, stalking, retaliation or any other types of misconduct that undermines dignity and respect.

Political Activity

In their personal capacity, Soldiers 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 and as a representative of the U.S. Army or as a Soldier.

  • Per DoDI 5400.17, para. 6.1.d.(5)(a), Soldiers are prohibited from engaging in political activity on their personal social media while in the federal workplace or while on-duty, including teleworking.
  • Service members must also be careful not to comment, post, or link to material that violates the UCMJ or service regulations. Examples include showing contempt for public officials, releasing sensitive information or posting unprofessional material that is prejudicial to good order and discipline under the UCMJ.
  • Soldiers should be aware of the limitations that exist when it comes to participation in political activity as well as DOD support to political campaigns. You must adhere to the policy in Department of Defense Directive 1344.10and AR 600-20, Appendix B when posting any political content.
  • Soldiers who are on duty or in uniform are prohibited from:
    1. Participating in any interview or discussion as an advocate for or against a party, candidate or cause.
    2. Participating in partisan political activity.
    3. Posting links to, “sharing” or “retweeting” comments or tweets from a political party or partisan office candidate's social media account. Such activity is deemed to constitute participation in political activities.
    4. Communicate contemptuous words against the President, Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or governor and legislature of any state or territory in which he or she is located or performing duty in. It is a UCMJ violation for Soldiers to communicate in this manner.
  • Soldiers are who are off duty and not in uniform are permitted to:
    1. “Follow,” “friend” or “like” a political party or candidate running for partisan office.
    2. Generally express their personal views on public issues or political candidates via social media platforms much the same as they would be permitted to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper.
  • The Hatch Act is a federal law passed in 1939 which limits certain political activities of federal employees. Its purpose is to ensure that federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion, to protect federal employees from political coercion in the workplace, and to ensure that federal employees are advanced based on merit and not based on political affiliation.
  • For more information about how the Hatch Act affects federal employees’ social media use, see the Social Mediasection of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel - Hatch Act FAQs website.


  • Information about killed in action (KIA) individuals or the death of any service member must not be released before the next of kin is notified.
  • Interactions over social media make up a major part of our daily online communication, so when Soldiers are killed or go missing in action, it can be hard to turn off the flow of information distributed through social media platforms. While it is difficult to prepare for tragedy, it is important to keep in mind that social media can play a role (good or bad) in the handling of a serious illness, injury or death.
  • It is imperative not to become part of the problem by adding to any rumors or speculation when there is a report of an injury or death. If approached by another member of your organization about a report or rumor, encourage them not to discuss, speculate or further spread unconfirmed facts. Should you be approached by a member of the media, refer him or her to the first public affairs professional in your organization.
  • In accordance with DOD Instruction 1300.18, DOD Personnel Casualty Matters, Policies, and Procedures; details about Soldiers killed or missing in action cannot be released until 24 hours after the next of kin has been notified and after the information has been released by the DOD. Always follow unit and Army protocol when it comes to these situations.
  • There are mechanisms for reporting online misconduct. Misusing online communications, sending harassing or intimidating communications and images, or other online misconduct may violate existing federal laws under the U.S. Code and may also be a violation of the UCMJ.
  • Army Regulation 600-20 prescribes online misconduct as punitive, making online behaviors that violates the Army's online misconduct policy punishable under the UCMJ.
  • Members of the U.S. Army community should report incidents through their chain of command or family support services for resolution. Additional avenues for reporting and information include the Equal Opportunity advisor for military and civilians, SHARP, the Inspector General and law enforcement offices.
  • Soldier and Family Readiness Group (SFRG) social media presences may be considered official. Content created or shared through SFRG sites must be approved by the unit's release authority (IAW AR 360-1, para. 8-3i).Unit SFRG pages must adhere to DoD and Army requirements even if they do not qualify to be in the social media directory.
  • SFRG pages can be set as open or closed groups; however, they must not exclude any member of the SFRG's parent unit. Content created or shared through FRG sites must be approved by the unit's release authority.
There are mechanisms for reporting online misconduct. Members of the U.S. Army community should report incidents through their chain of command or family support services for resolution.



It is important to distinguish official accounts from personal accounts. DOD personnel should not present themselves as DOD spokesmen or appear to speak on behalf of the DOD on their personal social media presence.

DoD personnel are prohibited from using their official position to:

  • Endorse a non-federal entity, product, service or enterprise
  • Take any action that implies DoD endorsement through the unauthorized use of one's official position or public office

Avoid use of DoD titles, insignia, uniforms or symbols in a way that could imply DoD sanction or endorsement of the content.

A disclaimer in the bio of a personal account or in the caption or first comment of each relevant post is recommended if the personal account content includes DoD titles, insignia, uniforms, or symbols.

Sample 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 information that has been cleared for release and published to an official account to a personal account if it is not done in a way that implies official DoD endorsement

  • Official accounts must not be used in a way that results in unethical private gain of a government employee or one’s friends, relatives or others affiliated in nonofficial capacity. For example, it is not permitted to promote a personal business venture on an official platform or receive compensation in exchange for posting content that may selectively benefit a non-federal entity.
  • Private gain includes the receipt of compensation from a third party including:
    • Advertising revenue
    • Sponsorships or sponsorship agreements
    • Affiliate marketing agreements
    • Promotion of commercial ventures on personal social media accounts
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If you are experiencing difficulty with any of the following issues, here are some resources that may help.


There are many different types of online fraud and cybercrimes. U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) receives hundreds of reports a month from individuals who have fallen victim to a scam perpetrated by a person impersonating a U.S. Soldier online.
Learn how to report a suspected scam


Soldiers, especially leaders, are prime targets for identity thieves who will use images posted online to create fake accounts. It is good practice to search sites regularly for impostors. Impostor accounts are violations of terms of use agreements.
Report an imposter social media account


Misusing online communications (online bullying), sending harassing or intimidating communications and images, or other online misconduct may violate existing federal laws under the U.S. Code and may also be a violation of the UCMJ. Regulation 600-20 authorizes commanders to punish Soldiers who are in violation of its direction, making failure to adhere to the Army's rules for online behavior a punishable offense under the UCMJ. There are mechanisms for reporting online misconduct.
Learn how to report misconduct.


First, contact the respective social media platform lead at the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs Digital Media Division. The DMD POC will contact the platform on your behalf.
See additional actions and safety guidance.

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