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04 June 2015

You May Want to Rethink Your Facebook Habbits.

NAVADMIN 129/15 released in May gives a guideline for “Standards of Conduct” on social media.  It applies to all DOD personnel contractor and Civilian and could affect how you treat social media.  As always I would suggest reading the full message but if you are lazy here is the abridged version.

 Use of Government Time and Property

When on-duty it is required that you “use official time in an honest effort to perform official duties.”  That really limits the use of  social media accounts but the message does give some hope when it says “use government property only to perform official duties, unless they are authorized to use government property for other purposes.”  Further reading indicates that “authorized use” are governed by agency policy that can permit use of Social media while on duty.

So yes if you can check Facebook during working hours BUT only if your agency/command allows it.

 Referencing Official Titles

We all have seen in the job title on it on facebook “Navy IT, PO1 USN, EMO USS Bigship” so what extent can you use official titles on social media?

The standards of conduct state that you should not use titles in “any manner that would create an appearance that the government sanctions or endorses their activities or those of another.”

Here are a few rules to make sure you don’t accidently make it look like you are “government sanctioned”

1.       Never state you are acting on behalf of the government, or use your position or title in to support statements.  Don’t be that guy that says “while as a Petty Officer in the navy……” Or “It is true I know so because I’m the EMO on the USS Neversink.”

2.       Only post Titles and ranks in the biographical portion of sites.  Remember you should always find out if the site is a trusted site before posting PII.

3.       Don’t prominently feature command, name, seal, uniform, logo etc.  It’s okay to have some pictures showing off your pride for the command.  Where you will get in trouble is if it gives the idea that your Facebook is sanctioned by the command.

4.       Use Disclaimers.  Sometimes you have to say “I’m in the navy” to argue a point when this happens it is encouraged that you put a disclaimer that it is only your opinion. So say something like “As a Navy Petty Officer I think the beard policy in the navy is stupid.  But that is just my opinion it is.” ßTrue story.

Endorse Others on Social Media for Employment

This section is 2 pages long and reads like a military instruction… The jest of it is that you can send an endorsement for employment with your official title because it is mostly understood that the endorsement is your personal opinion.

The section goes into a lot of rules that would more likely apply to higher ranks so if you are one of those people be sure you read this and follow up the references.

Disclosing Nonpublic Information

We all know you never share classified information but what of public information? Misusing public information can land you in hot water to.   Although you can share public government information you cannot accept compensation for statements or posts that relate to official duties.

Personal Fundraising

You can use personal social media accounts to fundraise for nonprofit charitable organizations in a personal capacity, but Standards of Conduct states you cannot “personally solicit funds from a subordinate.” The only time funds can be solicited is during the CFC.  It is understood that you may be connected to subordinates through social media and a general post for fundraising may be seen by the subordinate.  In any case like that it would not be considered “personally soliciting funds” if you target or PM them then you may have a problem.

Lastly on Fundraising you may not associate your position of title for the fundraising.  You title being in your bio is not considered using it for fundraising.

More information can be found in the NAVADMIN and at  Thank you for reading and if you have any questions or comments please put them in the comments below.

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