Late last year, Russia's Defense Ministry reportedly started advising soldiers and the ministry’s civilian staff to delete their accounts on social media and disable geolocation on their mobile devices, according to the newspaper Izvestia, confirming leaked cartoons and posters that began appearing online last November.
The Defense Ministry’s new Internet-use guidebook says foreign intelligence services are constantly monitoring social networks, and warns that geolocated photos and videos can be used to “disrupt combat missions.”
Soldiers who decide to remain on social media, the ministry says, should do everything they can to conceal their accounts from prying eyes, never “friending” anyone they don’t know personally, and asking friends and family not to share information about their military activities.
Since 2017, Russian soldiers have been required to report any identifying information shared publicly on the Internet. The same requirements were also imposed on all current state officials and applicants to Russia’s civil service, who must account for such data shared online over the past three calendar years. In early 2017, some State Duma deputies argued that they should face the same requirements.