Corps warns Marines to watch what they post to Facebook

May 9, 2013 at 11:07 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 9 (UPI) -- The U.S. Marine Corps, after being called to task about material posted on social media websites, is warning Marines to be careful about what they post.

"Marines must use their best judgment at all times and avoid inappropriate behavior that could bring discredit upon themselves, their unit and the Marine Corps," Marine spokesman Capt. Eric Flanagan said in a statement. "This includes posting any defamatory, libelous, abusive, threatening, racially or ethnically hateful or otherwise offensive of illegal content."

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., first learned about Marines' Facebook pages that included questionable pictures and comments Tuesday from a former Marine, Stars and Stripes reported. On Wednesday, she sent a letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Commandant Gen. James Amos and the Pentagon's principal deputy inspector general, Lynne Halbrooks.

Speier alerted Pentagon officials to one Facebook page.

The page, which is no longer available, posted as its cover a bare-breasted woman with her hands in front of her nipples and middle fingers raised. The page contained several photos with captions designed to look like Internet memes. A meme is basically an idea gone viral.

The page had more than 10,000 "likes" and many photos had several hundred comments, Stars and Stripes said.

"Many of the pictures imply women only advance professionally by performing sexual favors and otherwise promote the idea that women are inferior and only useful as sexual objects and sandwich makers," Speier said in her letter.

"The military cannot eradicate [sexual assault] without fundamentally changing its approach, including its tolerance of participation in these kinds of web sites," she wrote.

Flanagan said evidence was found that active-duty and reserve Marines were posting on the pages, and that all of those instances were referred to the Marines' commanders "for appropriate action."

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