Going Beyond OPSEC: Deployments in a Social Media World
During our first deployment, we were all about Myspace. After spending time with friends, we would go home, put the kids to bed, upload our photos from the day and update our music list.
These days, we are all about Facebook, Instagram, and even TikTok.
Social media can be good for connecting with local friends, finding out information about FRG events, and sharing photos with our friends and family back home. We also can connect with our spouses on there through messenger or just respond to their statuses. I could always tell when my husband was really missing us back home because he would share a lot of our photos on his friend list.
Social media can be great, but we need to be aware of something very important.
There are certain topics we should not be posting about. Certain topics we need to wait on posting. We need to educate ourselves so that we are not breaking any OPSEC rules or getting anyone in trouble.
This not only refers to a “public” Facebook post but any Facebook post. Whether you are just sharing the info with your closest friends or in a Facebook group. We need to be aware of what is allowed and what isn’t.
When you first become a military spouse you might not know what is okay and what isn’t. You might get confused because you see certain things in the news or being posted by others and you are not sure why they can post those things and you can’t. You might get lost in all the details and can’t totally remember what is okay and what isn’t.
Never Exact Dates and Locations
The main thing to keep in mind is never ever post exact dates or exact locations. Never say when your spouse is supposed to come home. Never say where they are and it might even be a good idea to just stick with the general, “they are overseas” or “they are deployed.”
Some even say things like, “the place they go for a while” or “away on “business.” Some military spouses keep the whole deployment off social media altogether. You don’t have to do that but you do have to be smart about how you talk about the deployment.
Talking About Injuries or KIA
If someone in your spouse’s Company or Unit is KIA or injured you might be notified about it directly. If not, eventually, the news will make its way down the grapevine and you will hear what happened. DO NOT POST THIS ON SOCIAL MEDIA. At least not right away. There could be family members that have not heard the news.
There was a spouse who ended up hearing about her husband on social media because people posted about it. Can you even imagine? While the military will notify the family members ASAP, sometimes other people hear the news before they do and if you happen to hear too and share that news, doing so could end up ruining someone else’s life. The best rule of thumb is to wait until you hear from the family on social media or hear it being announced more publically.
Never What They Are Doing
I am a military spouse who doesn’t need to know the exact thing that her husband is doing when he is deployed or even away on training. I always have a general idea of what he does but I don’t need it broken down until after he gets home. If you do find out about what your spouse is doing, never share that on Facebook or other social media.
If that news gets out, it could ruin the mission. You never know who is watching, you never know who could take that information and use it against the US military. Keep that information to yourself. You should also never post about when your spouse is going to be moving to another base. This happens a lot and is pretty normal for a deployment so try not to get anxious about it either.
If You Are Not Sure
If you are not sure if what you want to post falls under OPSEC or PERSEC or is perfectly fine to post, feel free to ask someone who has been a military spouse for a while or simply not say that info publically. I know how excited we can get when our spouses are coming home or when we know when that day is going to be but we can’t share that information on social media.
A good rule is to only post things after the fact. Keep that information to yourself and then go nuts telling your Facebook friends all about your homecoming after your spouse is back home with you. That way you are not endangering the mission, causing a delay on homecoming, or leaking out information you shouldn’t be sharing with anyone.