FYI: Politics and Social Media
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FYI: Politics and Social Media


MOST OF US KNOW YOU CAN’T
CAMPAIGN FOR A POLITICAL CANDIDATE WHILE ACTIVE
DUTY, TO INCLUDE HANDING OUT BROCHURES OR OTHER
INFORMATION TO YOUR CO-WORKERS. BUT WHAT IF I
TOLD YOU THAT ACCORDING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE,
POSTING POLITICAL CANDIDATE INFORMATION ON
YOUR PERSONAL SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES IS CONSIDERED THE
SAME THING? SURPRISED? DON’T WORRY-IVE GOT THE
STUFF YOU NEED TO KNOW. HI! I’M TECH SERGEANT
HOLLY ROBERTS-DAVIS AND THIS IS FYI. – MOST OF
US THINK WE’RE PRETTY FAMILIAR WITH THE
REGULATIONS REGARDING POLITICAL ACTIVITIES FOR
SERVICEMEMBERS. BUT, CHANCES ARE–YOU NEED
A RECAP. – THE DOD REGULATION STATES THAT
ACTIVE DUTY MEMBERS SHOULD NOT ENGAGE IN PARTISAN
POLITICAL ACTIVITIES AND SHOULD AVOID THE INFERENCE
THAT THEIR POLITICAL ACTIVITIES IMPLY OR APPEAR
TO IMPLY DOD SPONSORSHIP, APPROVAL, OR ENDORSEMENT.
THERE IS A BIT MORE TO THE REG, BUT WHAT’S IMPORTANT
TO KNOW IS THAT IT CAN PROHIBIT YOU FROM
PARTICIPATING IN PARTISAN POLITICAL ACTIVIES,
WHETHER IN UNIFORM OR NOT. THE REG GIVES EXAMPLES
OF PARTISAN POLITICAL ACTIVITIES, TO INCLUDE
CAMPAIGNING FOR A CANDIDATE, ASKING FOR
CONTRIBUTIONS, MARCHING IN A PARTISAN PARADE AND
WEARING THE UNIFORM TO A PARTISAN EVENT. – BUT,
BESIDES TELLING YOU ALL THE THINGS YOU’RE NOT
ALLOWED TO DO, THE REGULATION ALSO EXPLAINS
WHAT YOU CAN. SO, WHAT CAN YOU DO? YOU CAN REGISTER,
VOTE, AND EXPRESS A PERSONAL OPINION ON
POLITICAL CANDIDATES AND ISSUES, JUST NOT AS A
REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ARMED FORCES. YOU CAN JOIN
A PARTISAN OR NON PARTISAN POLITICAL CLUB, SIGN
PETITIONS FOR SPECIFIC LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS, SLAP
A BUMPER STICKER ON YOUR CAR, DONATE TO A CAMPAIGN,
AND EVEN WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR EXPRESSING YOUR
POLITICAL BELIEFS, AS LONG AS YOU DON’T IMPLY
REPRESENTATION OF THE AIR FORCE. – BUT OF COURSE,
THERE ARE LIMITS. YOU CAN’T DISPLAY A BANNER OR
SIGN ON YOUR CAR OR AT YOUR ON-BASE HOUSING, YOU
CAN’T SPEAK AT A RALLY OR HAND OUT BROCHURES-REALLY
ANYTHING THAT SPECIFICALLY ENDORSES A PARTICULAR
CANDIDATE OR ENCOURAGES OTHERS TO DO SO AS WELL.
BASICALLY, YOU CAN SAY “I SUPPORT JOE SCHMOE” BUT IT
CAN’T GO BEYOND THAT. – AT THIS POINT, YOU’RE
PROBABLY REALIZING YOU NEED TO BE MORE FAMILIAR
WITH THE REGULATION– ESPECIALLY BECAUSE ALL
OF THESE RULES APPLY TO SOCIAL MEDIA. – AN ACTIVE
DUTY SERVICE MEMBER MAY GENERALLY EXPRESS HIS OR
HER OWN PERSONAL VIEWS ON PUBLIC ISSUES OR POLITICAL
CANDIDATES VIA SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS. IF THAT
SOCIAL MEDIA SITE OR YOUR POST IDENTIFIES YOU AS
ON ACTIVE DUTY OR IF YOU COULD BE IDENTIFIED AS AN
ACTIVE DUTY MEMBER, 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. – BUT TO GO
FURTHER, AN ACTIVE DUTY MEMBER MAY NOT POST OR
MAKE DIRECT LINKS TO A POLITICAL PARTY, PARTISAN
POLITICAL CANDIDATE, CAMPAIGN, GROUP, OR CAUSE,
SINCE SUCH ACTIVITY IS THE EQUIVALENT OF DISTRIBUTING
LITERATURE ON BEHALF OF THOSE ENTITIES OR
INDIVIDUALS, WHICH IS PROHIBITED BY THE DOD
REGULATION. AN ACTIVE DUTY MEMBER MAY NOT POST OR
COMMENT ON THE FACEBOOK PAGES OR “TWEET” AT THE
TWITTER ACCOUNTS OF A POLITICAL PARTY, OR
PARTISAN POLITICAL CANDIDATE, CAMPAIGN,
GROUP, OR CAUSE, AS SUCH ACTIVITY WOULD BE ENGAGING
IN PARTISAN POLITICAL ACTIVITY THROUGH A MEDIUM
SPONSORED OR CONTROLLED BY THOSE ENTITIES. – SO.
JUST TO BE CLEAR. AGAIN, YOU CAN SAY IN YOUR POSTS
OR TWEETS OR IN REAL LIFE THAT “I, AS AN INDIVIDUAL,
SUPPORT THIS PERSON”, BUT YOU CANNOT DISTRIBUTE
CAMPAIGN INFORMATION OR POST LINKS TO CAMPAIGN
INFORMATION, BECAUSE THAT IS CONSIDERED ENCOURAGING
OTHERS TO ALSO SUPPORT THAT PERSON. BASICALLY,
POSTING A LINK TO A CANDIDATE’S WEBSITE IS THE
SAME THING AS HANDING OUT THEIR BROCHURE IN THE
EYES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. – SO WHAT CAN
YOU DO? WELL YOU CAN USE YOUR PERSONAL SOCIAL MEDIA
ACCOUNTS TO LIKE OR FOLLOW CANDIDATES OR PARTIES,
GROUPS, OR CAUSES ON THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS. YOU
JUST CAN’T SHARE IT ON YOUR PAGE OR ASK YOUR
FRIENDS TO SHARE, OR LIKE THOSE PAGES. AGAIN,
ACCORDING TO THE DOD REGULATION, THAT IS
EQUIVALENT TO HANDING OUT MATERIALS. – THE MOST
IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER IN ALL OF THIS
IS THAT UNQUESTIONABLY, SERVICE MEMBERS CAN
EXERCISE THEIR RIGHT TO VOTE. THE DOD ENCOURAGES
ALL MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES AND FEDERAL
CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES TO REGISTER AND VOTE. THE
DEPARTMENT ACTIVELY SUPPORTS THE FEDERAL
VOTING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM TO ENSURE ITS PERSONNEL
HAVE THE RESOURCES, TIME AND ABILITY TO PARTICIPATE
IN THEIR CIVIC DUTY. ADDITIONALLY, DEPARTMENT
LEADERS AND MILITARY COMMANDERS APPOINT VOTING
ASSISTANCE OFFICERS AT EVERY LEVEL OF COMMAND AND
ENSURE THEY ARE TRAINED AND EQUIPPED TO PROVIDE
VOTING ASSISTANCE. – FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE
FEDERAL VOTING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM, AS WELL AS A
LINK TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE REGULATION AND
OTHER HELPFUL INFORMATION, CHECK OUT THE LINKS IN
THE DESCRIPTION. – AND AS ALWAYS, KEEP AN EYE OUT
FOR THE LATEST EPISODE OF FYI TO ENSURE YOU STAY
UP TO DATE WITH WHAT’S HAPPENING IN YOUR AIR
FORCE. – FOR FYI, I’M TSGT HOLLY ROBERTS-DAVIS.

3 thoughts on “FYI: Politics and Social Media

  1. there is a lot of contradiction with this… y'all say one thing but tie the members hands of saying something else.

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