Indian Army, which is itself an active entity on social media wants its staff to stay away from social media. According to news reports, fearing that national security could be compromised; the Indian Army has asked its personnel not to use social media like Facebook, Twitter and WeChat which may have their servers abroad.
The army feels that activity on the social media could lead to identification of the army officers and others and their location.
This seems to be a rational worry which has only increased after US whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed how NSA has been spying on nations for years.
However, the worry is not a new one for the Indian Army. In January 2012, the army had issued orders to its officers and other ranks to immediately quit social networking sites such as Facebook, Orkut, etc. It also ordered those who have not joined to stay away from such sites in the future.
The move in 2012 was made after a Naval Board of Inquiry (BoI) had recommended for action to be taken against four senior naval officers who were in alleged possession of highly classified information and leaking them through social networking sites.
During the same time the army had planned to monitor the activities but pretty soon it realized that it would be a mammoth task to do so and that too on a network which they don’t have control over.
Interestingly, the Indian Army has a decent presence on social media today. Beginning with a presence on Twitter in the month of March 2103, the armed force also created a presence on Facebook in a few days. Today the Twitter account which is managed by the Additional Directorate General of Public Information has more than 124K followers and the Facebook page has more than 79K fans.
Barring army personnel from using social networking sites and messaging apps won’t be an easy task. Instead the Indian Army needs to set up social media policies in its establishment to stay with the times.