The UK’s Ministry of Defense has issued a series of of video warnings to social media users that tweeting might not be the fun and frivolous “just checking in at the night club” type activity they think it is: it could be alerting criminals, terrorists and other unsavory types of your whereabouts and other sensitive information.
The ominous tag that the Ministry of Defense has included with its Twitter-related video asks, “Two Navy personnel have a night out, but is it just their mates who know where they’ve checked in?”
It depicts two female members of the Navy who are disembarking from their ship. They decide to let off some steam by hitting up a nightclub, and one of the women tweets all night. But she doesn’t just tweet about the club: she gives away information about what ship she has just toured on, and tweets a Foursquare location checkin as well. At the end of the night, she and her friend are depicted as dancing with dark figures wearing guerrilla fatigue, balaclavas and bullets strapped to their chests, waving AK-47s above their heads. It closes with the question, “Is it just your mates who know where you’ve checked in?”
These videos use a strategy similar to wartime propaganda during the Second World War. Remember “loose lips sink ships”? Scaring the populace into keeping quiet is nothing new, but the real-time, global nature of social media does indeed make it easier for security breaches to occur.
The Ministry of Defense issued a statement along with their “Personal Security Online” videos, stating in part that they believe “social networking sites are great for keeping in touch with family and friends, and letting the world know what you’re up to…[but] Remember that there may be those who are using such sites for unsavoury reasons. These range from criminals looking for ways to con you or steal your identity, to those who may wish us harm.”