WASHINGTON – The US Air Force has warned troops that using location applications on Facebook and other networking sites could have "devastating" consequences for military operations.
"All Airmen must understand the implications of using location-based services," said a message on the internal Air Force network.
The features, such as Facebook's 'Check-in,' Foursquare, Gowalla, and Loopt "allow individuals with a smartphone to easily tell their friends their location," it said.
"Careless use of these services by Airmen can have devastating operations security and privacy implications," said the message, which was posted on November 5, according to spokesman Major Chad Steffey.
The note was also sent to officers overseeing communications "with instructions to get the word out to all Airmen," Steffey told AFP on Thursday.
Pentagon officials said it was unclear if other military services, including the Army and Marines that have tens of thousands of ground forces deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq, would issue similar warnings.
The Defense Department has long worried that careless use of social media could expose military secrets but decided to open the door to free-wheeling web 2.0 sites earlier this year after a elaborate policy review.
In February, the Pentagon announced that troops would be allowed to Tweet, blog and update their Facebook pages on the US military's non-classified computer network.
© AFP 2013