Official Use of Social Media

Social media is one of the primary modes of communication to the DAF’s external publics (domestic and foreign). We use social media not only to tell the Air Force story, but also to communicate during crises, engage with the media, and provide accurate and up-to-date information when news breaks. Today’s world is connected 24/7. Social media is a key communication tool for listening and gaining important insight and perspective.

The Department of Defense core principles of social media useImage of CMSAF JoAnne Bass taking a selfie with Airmen are stated in Official Use of Social Media for Public Affairs Purposes (DoD Instruction 5400.17).

DoDI applies to OSD, the Military Departments, the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Joint Staff, the Combatant Commands, the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Defense, the Defense Agencies, the DOD Field Activities, and all other organizational entities within DOD. This policy does not apply to social media accounts established for marketing activities by Military Service recruiting commands, in accordance with DoDI 1304.35.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. PA took photos of my unit, how do I access that content? Can I post it on social media?

A. Released imagery can be posted to personal and unit social media sites, following DOD Social Media guidelines. Released imagery is accessible for free download via Defense Visual Information Service (DVIDS). DVIDS is a state-of-the-art, 24/7 operation owned by DMA (Defense Media Activity) that provides a timely, accurate and reliable connection between the media around the world and the military serving at home and abroad.

Click here to visit the 81st Training Wing DVIDS page. Click here to read more about DVIDS

Q.  Should I stop using social media? Can I order my subordinates to stop using it?

A.  The very nature of our service means that military members face a special risk. But its critical to responsibly and carefully weigh the circumstances.  Recent cases of individuals being singled out on social media involved service members who were posting military information about current operations on their personal pages.  Social media engagement is an individual decision; there is no blanket prohibition against it. Concerned leaders should talk to their legal office about options, but remember informed decisions require education about the facts and careful review of recommendations on how to protect social media accounts.

Q.  Am I allowed to share information about the Air Force on my social media accounts?

A.  Yes.  Assess the risk and if you choose to engage, do so safely and within Air Force and DoD guidelines.  In particular, military information about current operations has brought attention and on-line threats to a few of our Airmen.  Think about what you are posting and, as always, ensure the information you're posting is cleared for release and appropriate.  Be cautious with information you may have access to that is sensitive and should always follow established release protocols - such as if a unit member is injured, killed or missing.  And for all posts, employ common sense by considering how information could be used.  If you post that your family is on vacation, for example, that signals that your house is vacant.

Q. What things should I avoid posting?

A.  - Classified information
     - Specific unit movement information
     - If and when a family is going on vacation or leaving the house vacant
     - Gossip and anything that may be considered offensive
     - Any information that would infringe upon the personal rights of others
     - Information concerning personnel missing or killed in action prior to release by DOD
     - Anything that would discredit the Armed Forces

Q. What things should I post?

A. - Pride and support for service, units, specialties and other Service members
    - General statements about service or duty
    - Corrections to misrepresentations made about the military - remember to do so respectfully and accurately

Q. If I delete my social media profiles, will I be safe?

A. Unfortunately, no. Whatever you share on social media is permanent. If you do not want the world to know, then you should not post it. Something posted five years ago can resurface at any time, even if it was just a 'younger, dumber you.'"

Q.  What can I do to protect myself on social media?

A. Refrain from tagging or posting your specific location. Know and manage your 'friend' or 'follower' list closely.  Use strong passwords.  Keep your personal information private and review any posts you are tagged in prior to them 

Resources

Where to find Team Keesler