On the surface, ESPN and the U.S. Marine Corps don’t seem to have much in common. But this week they both took stances against or limiting social media usage. ESPN sent out a memo to its employees with guidelines limiting how they can use social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to communicate with sports fans. Meanwhile, the Marines renewed a one-year ban on social media networking sites, citing security reasons.
In the order announcing the ban, the Marines pointed out that “these internet sites in general are a proven haven for malicious actors and content and are particularly high risk due to information exposure, user generated content and targeting by adversaries,” and also “exposes unnecessary information to adversaries.”
While ESPN didn’t cite enemies such as Fox Sports in its memo, they did give their staff instructions, albeit extremely vague one, on how to use social networking tools. Beyond reminding staff to “assume at all times you are representing ESPN,” the cable network also told talent that “if you wouldn’t say it on the air or write it in your column, don’t tweet it.” This is a much less restrictive policy than had earlier been speculated on, following ESPN basketball analyst Ric Bucher’s Tweet earlier in the day that the network was “prohibiting tweeting info unless it serves ESPN.”