Social media being misused against armed forces, says army chief

Last Updated 15 January 2018, 14:25 IST

Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat on Monday cautioned against social media, which he claimed, was being misused against the armed forces.

"Social media is being used against us. We have to be careful in its use," Gen Rawat said in his army day address at the Cariappa parade ground in Delhi Cantonment.

While he  did not elaborate on the nature of the damage in front of a large crowd, Gen Rawat in the past waved red flags against social media, including how these platforms were abused to radicalise the youths of Jammu and Kashmir.  

"Damage is being done through the social media, which is being used to radicalise the youth in J&K,"  Gen Rawat had observed in his annual media interaction on Friday.

Almost three years ago, the Indian Army came out with its social media policy that barred men in uniform to disclose personal details like rank, unit, formation, appointment, place of duty and movement on social network sites.

Also, the  release of operational and administrative matters, photos in uniform or background depicting army installations and equipment  are to be avoided.

Army personnel  cannot create or be a member of social media groups depicting religious sects, political groups, foreign military networks and hate groups. They are also barred from circulating chain mails, messages and posts on the armed forces.

"We need to improve our cyber (warfare) and information warfare capability. This is being addressed as a national issue. We have moved forward on this and not behind (like China) as it appears. Army's cybersecurity is a part of the national effort," Gen Rawat said.

After soldiers took recourse to social media to air their grievances against the establishment, the army chief cautioned them and asked them to go through the established mechanisms and drop boxes set up at multiple locations.

Also in January 2017, the army set up a WhatsApp number (9643300008) for its soldiers to post their problems directly to the army  chief.

The move came after some soldiers posted videos of their complaints online.

(Published 15 January 2018, 13:38 IST)

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