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Nude-photo scandal prompts US Marines to update social media rules

Washington: The US Marine Corps has revised its social media guidelines amid a scandal involving the nonconsensual online sharing of nude Marines.

The scandal centers upon the revelation this month that pictures of female Marines in various states of undress had been shared in a secret Facebook group called “Marines United.”

Membership of the group was restricted to current and former Marines, but it had as many as 30,000 members before it was taken down.

The pictures, often accompanied by lewd commentary, gave the women’s names and units in some cases.

“Marines must never engage in commentary or publish content on social networking platforms or through other forms of communication that harm good order and discipline or that bring discredit upon themselves, their unit, or the Marine Corps,” General Robert Neller, the Marine Corps’s commandant, wrote in the updated guidelines.

The new guidelines, released last week, stressed that Marines could face criminal prosecution in military courts for bad online behavior.

“In other words, Marines should think twice before engaging in questionable online activities,” the guidelines state.

All Marines will now be required to sign a statement showing they have read the guidelines.

“Marines are reminded that their conduct, even off-duty or online, may violate Navy and Marine Corps orders and regulations,” the guidelines state.

Other military services are also examining their social media guidelines.

The Army last week warned soldiers that bad online behavior, and turning a blind eye to it, is unacceptable.

Military investigators are examining the Marines United case and might level felony charges against some involved.

wat-lby/sg

© Agence France-Presse