CISF asks for social media IDs of personnelUpdated: Aug 02, 2020 00:00 IST
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has issued social media guidelines, asking its personnel to share their user IDs from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other such platforms, and refrain from criticising the government’s policies on these portals, failing which strict legal and disciplinary action will be taken against the defaulters.
The fresh guidelines, issued on July 31, will apply to about 140,000 personnel of the force. The force guards airports, Metro services and nuclear and space facilities apart from several sensitive government installations”.
The latest social media policy, issued by the CISF headquarters, said: “In spite of clear guidelines, there have been instances where social media platforms were used by the force personnel to share sensitive information about the nation/organization and to criticize the policies of government”. HT has reviewed a copy of the guidelines.
Asserting that social media platforms pose a threat to the national security and the general discipline of the force, CISF has asked its men to “disclose their user ID of all social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc) being used by them to the department, through (their) respective units/formations”.
The personnel have also been asked to inform the department in case of any change of the user ID or the creation of a new ID. The CISF’s personnel have been strictly asked “not to create and use anonymous or pseudonymous User ID”.
The directive also says that the “personnel should not use any social media platform to criticize the policies of the government on any matter”. The jawans have been told that social media platforms shouldn’t be used as a tool to bypass the chain of command and the proper channel to air the grievances, according to the directive.
“In case of any violation, strict legal and disciplinary action should be initiated against the defaulters as per existing laws and rules,” it added. The CISF’s top brass did not respond to HT’s calls or text for a comment on the guidelines. The public relations officer was also not available for a comment.
An officer who was in favour of the policy said: “It doesn’t stop anyone from using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Only the users IDs of personnel are being asked for because often it happens that security personnel are trapped by enemy countries on social media and then forced to divulge sensitive information”.
Several serving officers in the CISF said that the policy appeared “arbitrary”. “It’s better that they should give us a basic phone and a 2G connection otherwise smart phones have no use for us if such policies are implemented,” said a company commander in CISF, who did not wish to be identified.
Another commandant rank officer said “we are mostly away from our families for months and social media is the only source to keep us entertained or express our opinions, which should not be taken away”.
Former Director General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) K Durga Prasad said: “In a security related job, social media needs to be carefully used. Security personnel cannot equate themselves with civilians. We may say things on such platforms which can inadvertently affect the national security or our job. We have seen a number of cases in the past, when security personnel are targeted on social media by enemy forces.”