Page 11 - FSJ June 2012

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J U N E 2 0 1 2 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L
member using social media — espe-
cially where the lines between profes-
sional, personal and private use may be
blurred — read them and, if you don’t
understand something, ask.
• Avoid Divulging Private and
Confidential Information.
Here is
where many people run afoul of the
regulations. Be sure not to divulge any
information that includes confidential
or personally identifiable information.
Examples include, but are not limited
to, visa cases, information about other
individuals or classified information
(for example, linking to WikiLeaks).
• Remember that You Are a
Foreign Service U.S. Government
Even though you may
have the required disclaimer on your
blog, be aware that the public still may
not differentiate between your official
and private views. You should be
mindful of the weight of your ex-
pressed views as a U.S. government of-
ficial, particularly when your blog uses
the “hook” of your Foreign Service
connections to attract readers.
• Review Your Privacy Settings.
Make sure you are aware of the privacy
settings of the social media platform
you are using and how to adjust them.
Platforms such as Facebook often
change these settings without inform-
ing users. Periodic review of these set-
tings is important, and we recommend
having them set to the highest levels.
For blogs, you may even want to con-
sider restricting access so that only
your family, friends and colleagues
have access.
• Use Good Judgment.
We can’t
emphasize this enough. As we noted
above, all forms of human communi-
cation require good judgment, tact,
etc. What happens on the Internet,
stays on the Internet. When in doubt,
leave it out.
• Contact Us If You Have Prob-
If you are an AFSA member
and are approached by management
or Diplomatic Security regarding your
use of social media, be sure to contact
us so that we can assist you. For assis-
tance with issues related to social
media, please contact our labor man-
agement office at (202) 647-8160 or e-
mail AFSA’s lead attorney on the issue,
Raeka Safai, at
— Steven Alan Honley, Editor
Trouble in Timbuktu
After 20 years in existence, what
most experts considered a successful
democracy in Mali appears to be un-
raveling. The setback began onMarch
22 when a military mutiny turned into
a coup d’état, ousting President
Amadou Toumani Touré over what
younger officers reportedly considered
his government’s unsatisfactory han-
dling of a Tuareg rebellion in the coun-
try’s north.
Tuareg rebels and separatists im-
mediately took advantage of the tur-
moil to proclaim the independence of
what they call the Azawad Nation,
which reportedly has ties to the Is-
lamist terror group Ansar Dine. The
Tuaregs are also receiving weaponry
and support from former supporters of
the late Moammar Gaddafi in neigh-
boring Libya.
Making matters worse, the rebels’
northern stronghold, which includes
the city of Timbuktu, has suffered
major food shortages forcing close to
200,000 people from their homes
Back in Bamako, the coup has actu-
ally worked against the military’s stated
goal of defeating the Tuareg rebellion.
The Economic Community of West
African States quickly imposed harsh
sanctions, closing their borders and