OPSEC and Facebook Private Messaging

Private Messaging in Military Groups

OPSEC, or Operations Security, is a well known term among military family members. A "private message" or PM is a well known term in Facebook Groups and many other forms of social media. For military family members, PMing members in private military groups on Facebook poses a safety risk and OPSEC concerns. Here's why.

The enemy wants to be part of every military group on Facebook. It's a perfect opportunity and place for the enemy to gather little bits of information from military family members. The enemy will put all the pieces together like a puzzle and gain pertinent knowledge of current military operations.

The enemy knows how to look just like you and I; they know how to answer questions to make administrators think they are a military family member. It is impossible for you or I to identify or spot the enemy in a Facebook group. Likewise, it is not possible for persons managing a Facebook group to spot the enemy. If Facebook group administrators had the ability to identify the enemy, the military would hire them in a heartbeat. But they cannot spot the enemy. It is not possible.

We trust the other members in the group so surely it's okay to PM with them, right? But the reality is, neither you nor I nor the administrators know who that member is. Remember, the enemy's profile page looks just like yours and mine. And we can't spot the enemy.

This is why sending, requesting, or responding to a Private Message or PM inside a military-based Facebook Group is very risky for military family members. PMs are behind-the-scenes; the administrator has no idea it's happening and is powerless over what is being shared with who could be the enemy. The enemy wants to be in the groups which allow PMs so they can be involved in PMs with you or any unsuspecting member. They want to know what you know. Learning about military operations is easy through PMs in a military Facebook group.

For this reason, we do not allow PMs or requests for PMs in our Official MarineParents.com Facebook Groups. For this reason, we ask that you NEVER use PM as a form of communication regarding anything related to the military, your Marine, or the Marine Corps. You would be putting our troops at risk.

If you disagree with this, think of the alternative and what happens when all of these things fall into place and someone who is not as "on top" of OPSEC as you are, falls into this PM trap and communicates with the enemy. Before you discount that, consider how many people fall for all kinds of other email scams. YOU may not fall for it, but someone does and the enemy is counting on that. Help protect our military families from sharing information; stay away from PMing in military groups.

When someone sends you a PM, do not respond no matter how innocent it may seem. Do not request someone to PM you in the group and do not send a PM to someone who requests you to PM them. No matter what the topic is, do NOT start PMs with other members in Military Facebook Groups.

Requests to send or receive PMs in our group will be deleted. Repeated requests for PMs by a member will result in removal from our groups.

We are here to support you, the family members of recruits and Marines in all stages of your Marine's career in the Corps. We will not participate in creating risks to our troops by allowing PMs in our groups. If you need a form of support which you are not able to post in a group, we ask that you contact our corporate office by phone 573-449-2003, extension 1.

Be smart. We hope you will share this philosophy with other military family members who are members of military Facebook groups. Consider the alternative if you choose not follow this guideline. Be smart.

For additional information on guideline 8, see http://www.marineparents.com/8.asp

MarineParents.com Guideline 8
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