Air Force issues warning about discussing politics on social media

As the 2016 Presidential election draws near, the world of social media is undoubtedly buzzing -and divided- with political posts in support or opposition of the myriad of potential candidates.

In light of this, the USAF has delivered a clear message to it’s Airmen- “Don’t talk politics on social media.”

The Air Force even released an informational video warning Airmen from publicly taking sides on social media when it comes to political matters.

In the video, Tech. Sgt. Holly Roberts-Davis cites a long-established DoD directive that prohibits active duty military members from directly participating in partisan political activities- but includes updates as the policy relates to social media as well.

Activities such as campaigning for a candidate, soliciting donations to a specific campaign and even wearing a military uniform to a partisan political event have long been deemed a no-go by the military, Roberts-Davis says in the video. However, the 21st century way of communicating via social media have extended those same concepts to the online world.

Roberts-Davis says active duty military members are generally allowed to express political views on social media platforms, albeit with a technicality.
“If that social media site, or your post identifies you as on active-duty … then you must clearly and prominently state that the views expressed are those of you as an individual only and not those of the Department of Defense or your service.”

DoD regulation requires active duty service members take extensive actions to ensure that their personal opinions are in no way meant to reflect their respective branches.

Service members are not allowed to post or link to a specific political party, candidate or cause- as far as the DoD is concerned, those activities are the same as distributing literature on their behalf. Active duty members are also forbidden from posting, commenting on or sharing the social media pages of candidates or partisan political organizations, as “such activity would be engaging in partisan political activity through a medium sponsored or controlled by those entities.”

Despite the stringent regulations concerning the manner in which they are allowed to participate in political matters, service members are strongly encouraged to vote.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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