Ministry of Defence highlights social media dangers

The Ministry of Defence has launched a campaign encouraging personnel not to share sensitive information online.

Two videos posted on its YouTube channel show the dangers of security details falling into the wrong hands.

In one video a mum shares information about her son's forward operating base on Facebook and is then seen sharing tea with an armed man in a balaclava.

Primarily aimed at personnel, it's hoped that the message will also filter out to friends and family.

The campaign will run on the MoD's Facebook page, Twitter and on YouTube.

The MoD says it doesn't want to stop personnel using social media, but wants them to be careful with the kind of information they share.

Potential risks could arise from staff posting details of troop locations, operational events, information on ship or aircraft movements and home addresses.

MoD spokesman Maj Gen John Lorimer said: "We want our men and women to embrace the use of sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube, but also want them to be aware of the risks that sharing too much information may pose.

"You don't always know who else is watching in cyberspace."

In another video posted on YouTube two Navy personnel are seen leaving a ship and heading for a night out after sharing their location on foursquare.

They are then seen dancing alongside a masked man with a gun above his head.

Both videos end with the message: "Think before you tweet, blog, update, tag, comment, check-in, upload, text, share."

Two more videos are also planned for the channel, one by the end of the month and one in July.

Gen Lorimer added: "We do not want to scare service personnel, families and veterans and we certainly do not want them to stop using social media.

"We are not here to gag people because we acknowledge the ubiquity and significant benefits that social media offers to people and the MoD."