From Marjah to Kandahar – will US / UK social media policy change the story?

A new report from the US Department of Defense (report here and analysis here)) shows how the Taleban control a ‘contiguous’ swathe of territory across Southern Afghanistan. Yet the restrictions on reporting from the battlefield of Marjah means we really dont know what Afghans themselves are thinking.

The coming battle in Kandahar is  going to be a significant test of the ability of America and its allies to weaken the Taliban before inevitable negotiations. Yet so little is known about what really happens. Neither the voices of Afghans or Allied soldiers themselves has been heard in the story of Afghanistan.

Will recent policies on social media use by the American Department of Defense and UK Ministry of Defense change the story? Will we hear whats really going on? In truth, probably not, as both the US social media policy (here) and the UK’s policy (here) contain (understandable) restrictions on communication that could compromise ‘operational security’.

In a world where communication is increasingly free and the ability to control increasingly limited, what do military policies on control of communication look like? What do military personnel need to know in order to communicate responsibly?

Note: interesting links on the UK Department of Defense’s Social Media Hub here.

UPDATE: Is this what the social media policy was designed for? US troops do cover of Lady GaGa / Beyonce’s Telephone:

Thanks to War News Updates for the link.


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