A public policy researcher studying the Marine Corps’ ban of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook from military networks claims that it might be doing more harm than good. Chris Bronk, a research fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, said that the potential damage to soldiers’ morale by not being able to freely communicate with friends and family would likely outweigh any security benefits.
“The ban is at odds with realities of the 21st-century military and, instead of keeping warfighters safer, might hinder the development of an information-sharing culture in the military while demoralizing our troops,” Bronk wrote in Federal Computer Week on Sept. 17. He also added that while security concerns have some validity, “the Marines’ ban, however well-intended, is misdirected. Even with the new policy, military personnel can still access the Web for other purposes at work and, once off the job or off duty, log on to Facebook and other social media to share information. By contrast, the benefits of social media are considerable, particularly for personnel who are continents away from their loved ones.”