Saturday, February 13, 2016

You re-tweeted what?

The 2016 election year is upon us in full swing.  With both major political parties having fairly contested primaries this year, it's a good idea to review the rules concerning US military involvement in the political process.

As a military member, you may vote and contribute financially to political candidates.  You can even attend rallies, just not in uniform.  You may not run for office yourself nor "actively campaign" for any candidate.  Those rules are fairly obvious.

But what about social media?

DoD has issued fairly decent guidance on social media (located here and here).  Another blogger had a good rundown of 2012 changes here.  The Army's "You posted what on Facebook?" is a good quick read, and recently the Marines had a short article here.

As an active military member, on social media you may:

- Express your viewpoints in a personal capacity on a candidate.  You should put a disclaimer on any article you write.  A sample disclaimer is at the bottom of this article.
- "Like," "Follow" or otherwise stay abreast of a political candidate.

BUT, you cannot:
- Forward, post or otherwise directly links to a candidates website (this is considered active digital campaigning).
- Ask others to support a specific candidate, including financially.
- Post any comments on a candidates social media outlet.

And these restrictions apply no matter what your privacy settings.  The posting of direct links is a bit broad, which is probably intended.  I'm also certain most military members that are in anyway politically active on Facebook have likely violated this at some point.  I doubt that anyone would go digging into your past, but please be aware going forward, especially as the major parties eventually pick no-kidding candidates and start campaigning hard for office.

Or, you could always hire this guy to clean up your Facebook past

Sample Disclaimer:

This [activity, article, etc.] represents the authors personal viewpoint and are not in any way related to the author's official duties. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Department of the Navy, the Department of Defense, or the United States government.

And never, ever, forget to post a disclaimer, or R. Lee Ermey will be all over you!

And, if the memes didn't give it away, get registered to vote!