EU Armed Forces’ Use of Social Media in Areas of Deployment

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

EU Armed Forces’ Use of Social Media in Areas of Deployment


  • Maria Hellman Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership, Swedish Defense University, Sweden
  • Eva-Karin Olsson Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership, Swedish Defense University, Sweden
  • Charlotte Wagnsson Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership, Swedish Defense University, Sweden


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Abstract:  The advent of social media can be seen both as a risk and an opportunity by armed forces. Previous research has primarily examined whether or not the use of social media endangers or strengthens armed forces’ strategic narrative. We examine armed forces’ perceptions of risks and opportunities on a broad basis, with a particular focus on areas of deployment. The article is based on a survey of perceptions of social media amongst the armed forces of EU member states, thus adding to previous research through its comparative perspective. Whereas previous research has mainly focused on larger powers, such as the US and the UK, this article includes the views of the armed forces of 26 EU states, including several smaller nations. In analyzing the results we asked whether or not risk and opportunity perceptions were related to national ICT maturity and the existence of a social media strategy. The analysis shows that perceptions of opportunities outweigh perceptions of risks, with marketing and two-way communication as the two most prominent opportunities offered by the use of social media. Also, armed forces in countries with a moderate to high ICT maturity emphasize social media as a good way for marketing purposes.

Keywords:  armed forces; EU; international deployments; social media

Published:   18 February 2016


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v4i1.336


© Maria Hellman, Eva-Karin Olsson, Charlotte Wagnsson. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.