Not everyone’s your friend online

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • Robins Public Affairs
Remember, anyone on the Internet can be watching, and practicing operations security is everyone's responsibility.

There has been renewed emphasis on the responsible use of social media as it relates to force protection, according to a recent Air Forces Northern advisory.

Basically, be cautious of what information you share online as anyone, including adversaries, can exploit what's posted.

According to the advisory, examples of critical information can include specific details on personnel, intelligence, operations, logistics, vulnerabilities, plans, communications, the installation and mission. 

Some useful tips from the Air Force Social Media Guide include not posting classified information, such as troop movement, force size, weapons details, etc. Use your best judgment and don't list personally identifiable information, such as phone numbers, addresses and banking       information.

Bottom line - be cautious of what information you share online though social networking sites that can possibly be randomly obtained by terrorists using aggressive social media campaign tactics.

For example, prior to deploying overseas and returning home, pay attention that you don't post where you're going online, as well as sharing your activities on or off base. Also, disable location settings on your phone.

"Some people may feel nothing bad could happen, but it's just the fact that we wear the uniform. You can be a target," said Master Sgt. Henrietta Bouknight, 78th Security Forces Squadron antiterrorism officer and security manager. "Be conscious of what you post."

"Even with privacy settings on Facebook, Nothing is private - especially on the internet."

Never 'friend' or accept a 'friend request' from someone you don't know. Seemingly innocent questions about where your work and what you do may not be what it seems, she said.

"In practicing OPSEC, be careful who is around you when you talk. The same applies to what you post online," she said.

Common social media platforms include social networking platforms such as Facebook, Instagram; microblogs, blogs, video and photo sharing sites, and social news sites.         

Be smart and pay attention to what you share. You represent the Air Force in all your words and actions. Anyone could be watching. Protecting yourself is the most important thing you can do.

WHAT TO KNOW: For further information and recommendations, visit the Department of Defense Social Media hub page at socialmedia/ documents/ socialmediaguide2013.pdf.