Social media: Army faces a fresh challenge

  • PTI, Srinagar
  • Updated: Dec 11, 2014 03:09 IST

Battling a proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir, the army now has to fight with a new problem of misinformation campaign on social media which appears to be a tough challenge.

It all began with Northern Army Commander Lt Gen DS Hooda admitting to the "mistake" by his personnel in killing of two civilians in Kashmir last month.

This led to a slew of reactions and Hooda had to write to his men saying "not to fall prey" to print, electronic and social media opinions.

He had also written: "Mistakes will happen. Let me assure you that I have a clear understanding of the difficulties under which we operate and that nobody will be unfairly harmed. This clear message must go out to all units.

"Our Army's ethic and values, backed by a strong military justice system, are the best in the world. These will serve to guide us and also protect us. You and your men are doing an outstanding job in the most exacting of circumstances and your well being is uppermost in my mind".

Following the recent terror attacks, a fresh wave of messages have started appearing attacking the army leadership in the state and some of which were purportedly written by young officers.

Army believes that these were "misinformation campaign", possibly orchestrated from across the border to dampen the spirit of the force.

Now, a new Whatsapp message cropped up about a recent operation, saying that a particular officer was sidelined when it came to appreciation for saving "over 100" BRO personnel.

"These are all misinformation campaign. No army personnel would ever share operational details and such misinformation on social media," sources said.

Asked about the latest message doing the rounds, army sources said they checked with the said officer and he has denied that he had sent any such message.

They said it could be the handiwork of "a few disgruntled elements who might be vying for an award".

They stressed that there was a need for a coherent policy on social media interactions.

A circular in this regard was issued two years back which had said "Facebook, Twitter and Orkut" were only meant for private conversations and not to discuss operational details.

"Data sent on these are unsecure as data can be intercepted," the circular read.

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