Politics: The Social Media Rules of Engagement
Campaign season is upon us and political advertising is everywhere—so it’s no surprise that your social media news feeds are littered with friends supporting and bashing candidates. And it’s only going to increase as Election Day (Nov. 6) draws closer.
For active duty service members, there are social media guidelines in place regarding the endorsement of political parties and candidates. Follow these rules of engagement to comply with Department of Defense (DoD) public affairs regulations.
It’s OK to…
· Express personal views on public issues of political candidates. However; if the social media site or post identifies you as an active duty service member (or you are otherwise identifiable as active duty), then you must add a disclaimer that clearly states the views expressed are not those of the DoD or Department of Homeland Security, but rather those of the individual (read: you).
· You can “like” or “follow” a political entity’s account, but do not engage with them directly.
Things to avoid…
· Do not engage in any partisan political activity.
· Do not post or link to a politically-affiliated entity.
· Do not engage with any politically-affiliated entity’s social media account.
· Do not interact with a politically-affiliated entity’s social media properties in any manner that would constitute partisan political activity. This may include commenting, retweeting, forwarding invites or solicitations from the entity, or suggesting that others “like” or “follow” the entity.
It’s your duty to…
· Know and abide by this guidance. Remember to avoid partisan political activity and always include proper disclaimers when voicing your opinion on public matters. Read the guidance in its entirety here.
· For those not on active duty, remember to avoid acting in a manner that could reasonably create the perception or appearance of official sponsorship, approval or endorsement by the DoD, or that could involve contemptuous words against the chain of command.