Army gives soldiers access to Twitter, Facebook
An Army order instructs network managers to unblock certain social media sites
An Army order directs network managers across the country to stop blocking soldiers’ access to certain Web 2.0 Web sites such as Facebook, Flickr and Twitter, according to several media reports today.
The order issued May 18 jointly by the 93rd and 106th Signal Brigades, permits access to five social media sites within the continental U.S, said Stephen Bullock, strategic communication director for 7th Signal Command, which oversees the brigades.
Bullock said the order “wasn’t really a reversal of policy,” as much as an effort to address inconsistent and often arbitrary decisions that had been made from base to base. “So we gave guidance that made it a consistent set of web filtering standards, resulting in better service for our users,” he said.
Access should be available to Facebook: Delicious, Flickr, Twitter and Vimeo via the Unclassified but Sensitive Internet Protocol Router Network, he said.
“The intent of senior Army leaders to leverage social media as a medium to allow soldiers to ‘tell the Army story’ and to facilitate the dissemination of strategic, unclassified information, the social media sites available from the Army homepage will be made accessible from all campus area network,” according to a copy of the order on Wired.com.
The order also instructs network managers to block several Web site including: Photobucket, MySpace and Live365.
The order also says Blackberry servers should also be configured to allow access to the now unblocked sites.
The order coincides with a push at the Military Health System to use social media Web sites, according to Fox News.
Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.
Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.