by Airman 1st Class Jeff Parkinson
1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
6/23/2014 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- With
social media on the rise, any post has the potential to go viral, which
could be good or bad depending on the circumstances.
Anyone can view social media sites no matter the privacy setting. As Air
Commandos, it's important to keep the Air Force Core Values in mind
Those who list the Air Force as their employer on their profile aren't
only speaking for themselves; they are also representing the Air Force.
"When you list your employer and occupation, you then are representing
it and can be held accountable for the things you post," said Staff Sgt.
John Bainter, 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs NCO in charge
of social media. "If Airmen post inappropriate things or activities,
they could have their core values questioned and can face disciplinary
Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel, Air Force Special Operations Command commander,
distributed a social media policy on March 25, which was established to
preserve operational security and maintain credibility.
Social media sites give AFSOC Airmen the opportunity to tell the Air
Force story to a worldwide audience. However, these sites should be used
"All AFSOC personnel are reminded that any time they post to social
networking sites, even in a personal capacity, they are representing
AFSOC, U.S. Special Operations Command and the Air Force," said Fiel in
his policy letter. "You must use your best judgment at all times and
avoid inappropriate and unprofessional behavior that could bring
discredit upon yourself, your unit and the command."
According to Air Force Instruction 35-113, Airmen may not post any
defamatory, libelous, vulgar, obscene, abusive, profane, threatening,
hateful, racially, ethnically, or otherwise offensive or illegal
information or material.
In addition, AFI 1-1 states that Airmen who voice their personal
opinions on social media sites should make it clear that they are
speaking for themselves, not on behalf of the Air Force. Service members
may not use their rank and service in situations where the context may
imply official sanction or endorsement of their personal opinions.
"There are always consequences to what is written," Bainter said. "If
you are about to post something that is questionable and may reflect
negatively on the Air Force, you should review the guidance set forth in
"If you are still unsure, you should discuss the proposed post with your supervisor or the public affairs office," he added.
Ultimately, Airmen have the sole responsibility for what they post.