social media roundup - social media and military voters

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With election season fast approaching, the Department of Defense (DoD) published a set of guidelines for military personnel detailing what's allowed and what's restricted when participating in political activities. This Social Media Roundup discusses these guidelines and highlights the guidance dealing specifically with social media activity.


  • 1.Social Media RoundupMilitary voters and social media

2. Social Media RoundupAgendaOn June 19, the Department of Defense published a set of guidelinesfor military personnel outlining what is allowed and what is restrictedwhen it comes to participating in political activities. This Social MediaRoundup discusses these guidelines and highlights the guidancedealing specifically with social media activity. Introduction DoD guidelines Importance of voting Social media guidance General dos and donts for military voters Related links 3. Social Media RoundupIntroduction In January, a 28-year-old Army reservistbreached military protocol when he tookto the stage in support of Ron Paulwhile in uniform. Its important to knowwhat political activities you can engagein as an Active Duty Soldier, both inpublic and on social media. To help Soldiers better understand whatthey are authorized to do in regards topolitical activity, the DoD published aset of guidelines( This guidance, and the Public AffairsGuidance for Political Campaigns andElections ( shed more light on a complexissue during this political season. 4. Social Media RoundupDoD guidelines The set of guidelines published bythe DoD details what politicalactivities are authorized for ActiveDuty personnel and DoD civilians. The memo states, "Generally, allservice members are prohibited fromacting in any manner that gives riseto the inference of approval orendorsement of candidates forpolitical office by DOD or the U.S.military." The document briefly mentionssocial media, but the majority ofsocial media and political activitiesguidance can be found in the PublicAffairs Guidance for PoliticalCampaigns and ElectionsThe guidelines for civilian and military personnel participation in politicalactivities can be found here: 5. Social Media RoundupThe importance of votingWhile the main intent of the DoD document is to outline what political activities are authorized for DoD Civilians and Active Duty personnel, the document also discusses how important it is that all DoD personnel get out and vote.As Election Day 2012 approaches, itis important that all DoD personnel military and civilian be aware of thelimitations that exist whenparticipating in political activity. Allpersonnel are encouraged to carryout the obligations of citizenship.Eligible voters are encouraged tovote.-DoD memorandum Civilian and Military PersonnelParticipation in Political Activities 6. Social Media RoundupSocial media guidance While the DoD memo brieflymentions social media usewhen it comes to politicalactivities, the majority of theDoD guidance can be foundin the Public Affairs Guidancefor Political Campaigns andElections document.( The next few slides highlightthe three major pieces ofsocial media guidanceoffered by the DoD regardingpolitical activity on socialmedia. 7. Social Media RoundupSocial media guidance 9.4.2. An Active Duty (AD) Service member may generally express his or herown personal views on public issues or political candidates via social mediaplatforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, or personal Blogs, much the same as theywould be permitted to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper. If a socialmedia site/post identifies the member as on AD (or if the member is otherwisereasonably identifiable as an AD member), then the entry will clearly andprominently state that the views expressed are those of the individual only andnot those of the Department of Defense (or Department of Homeland Securityfor members of the Coast Guard). An AD member may not, however, engage inany partisan political activity. Further, an AD member may not post or makedirect links to a political party, partisan political candidate, campaign, group, orcause because such activity is the equivalent of distributing literature on behalfof those entities or individuals, which is prohibited by reference (c). Moreover,an AD member may not post or comment on the Facebook pages or tweet atthe Twitter accounts of a political party, or partisan political candidate,campaign, group, or cause, as such activity would be engaging in partisanpolitical activity through a medium sponsored or controlled by said entities. Source: 8. Social Media RoundupSocial media guidance 9.4.3 An AD member 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. However, AD members will refrain from engaging inactivities with respect to those entities social media accounts that wouldconstitute political activity. This would include, for example, suggesting thatothers like, friend, or follow the political party, partisan political candidate,campaign, group, or cause, or forwarding an invitation or solicitation from saidentities to others. Source: 9. Social Media RoundupSocial media guidance 9.4.4 AD members may besubject to additional restrictionsbased on the Joint EthicsRegulation, the Uniform Code ofMilitary Justice, and service-specific rules, to include rulesgoverning the use of governmentresources and governmentalcommunications systems, such asemail and internet usage. Source: 10. Social Media RoundupGeneral dos and donts for military voters Social media is just a small piece of the political activity guidance offered by theDoD. The following dos and donts are also included in the memo. Active Duty service members MAY Vote Express personal opinions about political candidates and issues, but not as arepresentative of the U.S. military Join a political club and attend partisan and nonpartisan political meetings,debates, conventions, or activities as a spectator, when not in uniform Sign a petition to place a candidates name on an official election ballet Make monetary contributions to a political campaign or party Display a political bumper sticker on a personal vehicle Write a letter to the editor or post a blog, stating a personal opinion (the opinionmust specify that the state views are those of the individual and not of theDepartment and may not solicit votes for or against a partisan candidate) Participate in nonpartisan activities that are not specifically identified with apolitical party, such as a referendum question or a municipal ordinance on forexample, tax or environmental issues.Source: 11. Social Media RoundupGeneral dos and donts for military votersActive Duty service members MAY NOT Actively participate in partisan political activities, including fundraisers (mereattendance does not constitute participation) Serve as an officer of a political club Speak at a partisan gathering or participate in any radio or television programs(including organized blog debates or discussions) that advocate for or against apolitical party, candidate, or cause Seek nomination of candidacy for civil office (see DODD 1344.10 for limitedexceptions) Display a political sign, poster, banner, or other campaign material visible to thepublic at ones residence on a military installation (including homes located inprivatized housing) Attend political events as an official representative of the Armed Forces unlessauthorized by the Service Secretary concernedSource: 12. Social Media RoundupRelated links Video: 2011-12 Adjutant General voting PSA ( STAND-TO! The Army Voting Assistance Program ( Hatch Act ( Federal Voting Assistance Program ( U.S. Army Voting on Facebook ( Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces ( DOD releases dos, donts for military voters ( 13. Social Media Roundup Contact informationHave questions? Please feel free toreach out to us at the Online andSocial Media review and download past editions of theSocial Media Roundup, visit our Slideshare siteat: Social Media Roundups are authorized to bedistributed to a broader audience.7/11/2012OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF PUBLIC AFFAIRSPENTAGON