The 85 apps banned/restricted for Indian Navy personnel include Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, Viber, Tumblr, Reddit and Truecaller.
New Delhi: The Navy has banned
or restricted the use of several social media apps for its personnel,
including Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Linkedin, YouTube, Telegram and
Signal, ThePrint has learnt.
According to sources in the Navy, the force issued fresh guidelines last month that altogether affect 85 apps.
The new guidelines come about a month
after the Navy banned Facebook and the use of smartphones on naval
premises and warships in light of an alleged espionage racket involving seven personnel.
It had said at the time that
additional safeguards, including bans on messaging apps, blogging,
content sharing, and e-commerce sites, were under consideration.
The fresh guidelines, the sources
said, will also affect the use of other smart devices, including
watches, on naval premises. They also talk about “deterrent measures”
The guidelines will be incorporated into a 2015 Navy order on the use of social media.
Navy, the sources said, will organise training capsules on the issue
for naval personnel at the southern naval command in Kochi.
Banned & restricted
According to sources privy to the
guidelines, the apps whose use will be banned include Facebook,
Instagram, WeChat, Viber, Tumblr and Reddit. PUBG [a video game with
chat facility] and Truecaller [which mines users’ contacts to identify unknown callers] fall in the same category.
Restricted use of apps such as
WhatsApp, Twitter, Telegram, Signal, YouTube, Skype, Quora and Linkedin
will be allowed, the sources said. Restricted use means, for instance,
that personnel can browse through Twitter but not upload any content.
Social media guidelines for defence
forces are increasingly common in order to secure confidential
information. The US military, for example, has a handbook on the use of
social media. Last year, the Indian Army asked officers holding crucial posts to consider deactivating Facebook accounts.
However, a senior Navy officer said
the fresh guidelines might alienate naval personnel, particularly the
younger lot, who use the internet frequently.
“One should adopt changing
technologies,” the officer said. “Sensitisation and education regarding
the usage of social media are the need of the hour.