Keeping Airmen safe in the social media world

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- Airmen today use the social media world to keep in touch with family, friends, prior co-workers and a multitude of others.

Unfortunately, for all of the positive uses of social media, recent events have encouraged us to re-evaluate our digital world to ensure our personal and professional information is protected from online predators and minimize potential harm.

Recently, military members have been threatened on social media by terrorist organizations looking for information they can use to harm military families and disrupt Air Force operations.

While there are so many positive uses for social media such as entertainment and information, it poses possible weaknesses in operations security. Air Force Instruction 1-1, Air Force Standards provides guidance on appropriate social media use by Airmen.

Personal privacy and operational security should be taken into considerable account when using social media. The reality is terrorists are not only in faraway lands, nor do they need to be now that social media has created a gateway into your everyday life.

Help to keep yourself, your family and your fellow Airmen safe by keeping that gateway closed to those whom you do not know.

To make it more difficult for unwanted users to acquire your data through social media, try the following tips:

1. Interacting online should be done so with caution. You should never accept a friend request from someone you do not know, even if they are loosely tied to you.
2. Do not share personally identifiable information to the public. Remember, once you put something out there, you no longer have control of where it goes.
3. Disable location-based social networking, or geotagging, on all social media platforms. Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification to photographs, video, websites and text messages. This includes the use of a cell phone's GPS.
4. Avoid posting work or personal schedules and travel itineraries, especially deployment information and return dates for yourself, a loved one or a unit.
5. If you hesitant before releasing something, reconsider the content you are about to share. Follow the motto: When in doubt, throw it out!
6. Adjust your privacy settings to ensure your posts and profile information is secured and seen only by approved audiences. This last tip applies to any social media platforms you may use, but since Facebook is the most widely used, we want to share this detailed how-to guide on how to secure your profile.

Resource Links:

· Facebook Smart Card
· Twitter Smart Card
· LinkedIn Smart Card
· Air Force Social Media Guide
· U.S. Central Command FAQs on Social Media
· Military Community and Family Policy Social Media Guide
· How to change your Facebook privacy settings