Nearly two years to the day that the U.S. Military banned social networking sites like YouTube and MySpace (back when MySpace was relevant), it has not only reversed its decision but each branch of the military now has its own Facebook fan page and Twitter feed.
The effort, which officials described as a way to counter Taliban propaganda, represents a sea change in how the military can communicate its message to foreign and American audiences.
“There’s an entire audience segment that seeks its news from alternative means outside traditional news sources, and we want to make sure we’re engaging them as well,” said Col. Greg Julian, the top U.S. spokesman in Afghanistan.
U.S. officials here have long said that the military is losing the information war to the Taliban, which routinely publicizes false claims about how many U.S. soldiers its forces have killed or how many civilians might have died in an airstrike. Spokesmen send text messages to reporters and Taliban militants post claims on Web sites, many of which have chat groups dedicated to sympathizers and the merely curious.
The military on Monday announced the death of U.S. service member the previous day from non-combat-related injuries in southern Afghanistan by posting the news on Twitter hours before announcing it in a more formal press statement.
So far the military’s Facebook and Twitter’s pages are just in a testing phase. The official launch is slated for sometime this week.
U.S.A. follow it or leave it!