Just in time for the New Hampshire primary, airmen have been advised to keep their politics at bay – at least on their social media pages.
The Air Force last week released this social media guidelines video reminding airmen that it’s easy to get pulled into political rhetoric on Twitter, Facebook and other social sites, which has bearing on their uniformed service.
Defense Department regulations have long mandated that service members abstain from partisan political activities, such as marching in political parades, wearing the uniform to political campaign events or campaigning for a specific candidate.
But in 2016, this includes the World Wide Web.
Titled “FYI: Politics and Social Media,” Tech. Sgt. Holly Roberts-Davis says as long as you don’t imply representation of the Air Force, you can sign petitions, join a political club or write an editorial letter in a newspaper. “You can say, ‘I support Joe Schmo,’ but it can’t go beyond that,” Roberts-Davis says.
“All of these rules apply to social media as well,” she continues. As an individual, not on behalf of DoD or a service branch, “an active-duty service member may generally express his or her own personal views on public issues or political candidates via social media platforms….but may not post or make direct links to a political party,” candidate, etc.
This includes commenting on Facebook pages of candidates, or even tweeting at the candidates themselves, Roberts-Davis says. It allows for others, even other service members, to be encouraged to support or “distribute literature” about a certain candidate, which is a big no-no in DoD’s book.
Members can follow along with the political dialogue – just don’t engage.
View the Air Force’s video above.