IDF: Rumors on Social Media Hurt Soldiers, Families

An IDF reserve soldier from the 10th division of the Israeli army speaks on the phone at a settelment near the Israeli Gaza border on August 11, 2014, The IDF reserves soldiers were called on August 3rd to take part in oparation Protective Edge.The mission was to protect the settelments around the Israeli Gaza border. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** îéìåàéí öå÷ àéúï ùåîø ùåîøéí àéîåï ôòéìåú îáöòéú çééì çééìéí
An IDF reserve soldier speaks on the phone. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

The IDF wants soldiers to put down their smartphones and stop sending messages on mobile social networks. Such services have no place, especially during war time or when a conflict is underway – and their use could actually cause grave damage, the army said.

“Don’t let rumors knock at your door” is the theme of the new campaign the IDF launched this week, against use of such services. The campaign will include ads in traditional and new media, as well as special training sessions for soldiers.

Among the damaging types of messages that the IDF has pointed to in the past are those that circulate casualty lists which name people allegedly injured or killed in battle or as the result of terror attacks. In the past, said the army, much suffering was caused to families who were wrongly informed that their loved one was killed, after rumors were spread on social network and messaging services.

In a statement, the IDF spokesperson said that the IDF has a special unit entrusted with the task of distributing information about victims who fell or were injured in battle – and that it is the only media source that the public should heed.

“The IDF ensures that families are informed of bad news in a sensitive manner, with accurate information. We act in the appropriate manner to inform families of the death or injury of soldiers, helping them through their suffering and adjustment periods,” the spokesperson said.