Indian Navy

Can’t use Facebook, post on Twitter — new social media rules for Navy after ‘spy ring bust’

The Navy has banned or restricted the use of several social media apps for its personnel, including Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Linkedin, YouTube, Telegram and Signal, ThePrint has learnt. According to sources in the Navy, the force issued fresh guidelines last month that altogether affect 85 apps.

The new guidelines come about a month after the Navy banned Facebook and the use of smartphones on naval premises and warships in light of an alleged espionage racket involving seven personnel. It had said at the time that additional safeguards, including bans on messaging apps, blogging, content sharing, and e-commerce sites, were under consideration.

The fresh guidelines, the sources said, will also affect the use of other smart devices, including watches, on naval premises. They also talk about “deterrent measures” for lapses. The guidelines will be incorporated into a 2015 Navy order on the use of social media.

The Navy, the sources said, will organise training capsules on the issue for naval personnel at the southern naval command in Kochi.

Banned & restricted

According to sources privy to the guidelines, the apps whose use will be banned include Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, Viber, Tumblr and Reddit. PUBG [a video game with chat facility] and Truecaller [which mines users’ contacts to identify unknown callers] fall in the same category.

Restricted use of apps such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Telegram, Signal, YouTube, Skype, Quora and Linkedin will be allowed, the sources said. Restricted use means, for instance, that personnel can browse through Twitter but not upload any content.

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