Information Shifts: From Facebook, With Love
In March 2008, “Sharpen Yourself: LinkedIn & Social Networking Sites” discussed both the career benefits and security risks associated with social networking sites. Sir John Sawers, the prospective head of Britain’s MI6 intelligence agency is probably wishing he had read it. His wife recently leaked dangerously specific information about him on Facebook, and created a controversy about his fitness for the job. Sir John now faces a possible parliamentary probe.
Social networking is becoming a larger part of the military, and the industry. In July 2009, Lockheed Martin released its internal company social networking application’s underlying code as open source software. Social networking efforts are being explicitly built into PR contracts, and it’s becoming one of the information shifts that are changing the battlespace. The Pentagon recently launched an official blogging platform at DODLive.mil, and US Forces Afghanistan launched a social networking strategy that extends to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Followed by orders to bases to stop blocking key social networking sites. These efforts can make a big difference toward ensuring that the Pentagon is no longer, as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates puts it, “being out-communicated by a guy in a cave.” On the other hand, they are not risk-free.