Some Israeli soldiers will soon be unfriending Facebook following a new crackdown on social media use, a move that will limit or ban outright use of the networks by soldiers in classified units.
The move comes days after a group of female Israeli soldiers posing for photos wearing nothing but underwear and combat gear surfaced on Facebook, prompting widespread media coverage.
It was the latest in a number of embarrassing social media incidents that the Israeli military has endured over the past few years.
Israel’s military said that the planned restrictions weren’t related to the photos. “These restrictions stem from information security concerns,” said a military spokesman. Issues of morality or decorum were “not addressed by this specific order.”
The plan’s draft creates three categories for social media use among Israeli soldiers. Members of the most secretive units would not be allowed to have social media accounts, soldiers in less classified units would be banned from posting pictures of themselves on base or in uniform, and those serving in standard units would face no restrictions at all.
It was not clear when the restrictions would be placed, how they would be enforced, or what punishments would be meted out for violating them.
In 2010, the military announced a blanket ban on social media use among soldiers while on base. That policy also took effect shortly after a social media incident, in which video of an Israeli soldier dancing suggestively around a blindfolded Palestinian woman was posted on YouTube. The military also cited security in imposing that ban.
It is unclear if the ban is still technically in effect. If so, it is widely ignored by Israeli soldiers.
The military spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said commanders currently have the discretion to set social media rules for their units.
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