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Headquarters Marine Corps sets guidelines for Facebook, Twitter

By 2nd Lt. Kyle Thomas, Public Affairs Officer | | July 29, 2010

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Headquarters Marine Corps has recently established new guidelines for personal use of the social media, such as Facebook and Twitter as well as other sites.

The 21 guidelines cover areas, such as the release of personally identifiable information, information regarding operational security, as well as what constitutes appropriate behavior.

Although some of this information may seem familiar, some may seem surprising. For instance, if Marines and sailors do not disclose all foreign “friends” in background investigations for security clearances they may be denied or lose that clearance, according to the new guidelines.

Marines are also encouraged not to post birthdays on their social networking sites especially if they have more than one site.

“By piecing together information provided on different Web sites, criminals can use information to, among other things, impersonate Marines and steal passwords,”according to the guidelines.

Also for this reason, Marines and sailors are encouraged to be familiar with the privacy settings for the particular sites they use.

Of course, not all of the information is negative. Marines are encouraged to defend the Marine Corps online against misrepresentations and misinformation. However, if Marines do so they have to do this with tact and respect, according to the guidelines.

Not only are Marines encouraged to defend the Marine Corps in cyber space, Marines may also use the eagle, globe and anchor, the Marine Corps Coat of Arms as well as unit symbols as long as they are posted in the a manner that is not defamatory. However, obscene or disrespectful use of these symbols may lead to “legal proceedings,” according to the guidelines.

Marines are reminded that they may still be subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice as well as federal law for certain information that may be posted online.

If information is not authorized for public use it should not be on social networking sites.

“Marines are Marines 24/7. That doesn’t change when you go home and get on your personal site,” said Capt. Peter Rottkamp, deputy, Staff Judge Advocate, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.

Recently in Afghanistan, a Marine was held accountable for information he posted on his Facebook in reference to both fellow Marines and foreign troops. He was given 60 days hard labor and a reduction in rank.

For more information, the guidelines are posted on www.marines.mil/omg. Marines and sailors are also encouraged to contact the MCLB Albany Public Affairs Office at (229) 639-7023, for any other questions regarding what should or should not be posted on personality sites online.


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