Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are politicizing the United States military like never before, according to a report by Politico.
The conclusion was derived from a Pentagon survey, which is now “prompting calls for commanders up and down the ranks to reemphasize how impartiality is a major reason why the military regularly polls as the most respected institution in the country.”
“Such behavior threatens to erode the trust in which the public holds the military, leading to it being viewed as just another interest group,” claimed Army Col. Heidi Urben, before adding that the military “must do a better job of communicating why this matters.”
“Those trust and confidence levels, in part, relate to the fact that we are viewed as nonpartisan,” she continued.
The survey discovered that less “career officers” identified as conservative or Republican than previous years, with a slight boost in members of those who identified as Democrats.
“It looks like we might have some shifting for the first time in 30 years. We saw a little bit higher proportion of officers who identify as Democrat or liberal than in past surveys and a slightly lower percentage of those who would identify as a Republican or conservative,” proclaimed Urben.
“There are a lot of younger service members today who may not have the full appreciation of the long history — that assume that high levels of public support for the military is just a given,” she explained. “We want to make sure that nonpartisan ethic remains at the forefront.”
The Pentagon survey also revealed that 75% had witnessed “fellow officers” posting political articles on social media, while a third claimed to have seen fellow officers “advocate directly for a political figure, disparage a candidate or encourage others to take action on a political issue.”
Last week, a report published by Bloomberg indicated that those who use social media had a higher stress level than those who didn’t.
“On a 10-point scale, constant checkers reported an average stress level of 5.3. For the rest of Americans, the average level is a 4.4,” reported Bloomberg. “The highest stress levels, it should be noted, are reserved for those who constantly check their work e-mail on days off. Their average stress level is 6.0.”
In October, it was also reported that social media users were more likely to feel stressed over the 2016 presidential election, with 38% of those surveyed attributing their stress to political discussions online.