Israel's Defense Ministry has cracked down on soldiers after it came to light that they had exposed classified intelligence information on Facebook and other popular social networking sites, press reports said.
The tougher measures come after a recent inquiry by the Defense Ministry revealed that soldiers had posted photos of classified army units, including pictures of active personnel and sensitive military sites, and secret information in the background.
The Jerusalem Post said that current and former Israeli soldiers had posted photographs of themselves inside submarines and command and control bunkers, practicing with special weapons, showing off communications equipment and showboating next to air force planes.
According to the new rules issued by the ministry, soldiers were ordered to refrain from posting photographs taken at defense establishment sites or photos of themselves in uniform, even if they were taken at home.
And security officials who hold sensitive posts have been banned from joining social networking sites at all.
The new rules also instruct defense personnel not to reveal that they work for the Israeli security forces or post any details related to the defense establishment, including non-classified information.
The guidelines apply to members of the IDF, Defense Ministry, internal security agency Shin Bet, and intelligence agency Mossad.
Facebook is especially popular among Shin Bet members, including its VIP protection unit, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
Shin Bet issued a warning several months ago that personal details shared on the web endanger soldiers and provides enemies with valuable information. But several guards have since signed up on Facebook and some even revealed their place of employment, the paper said.
The Defense Ministry told the Post that anyone caught posting classified materials would be court-martialed. Unnamed IDF sources said the army was racing to track down and remove classified information from the popular site.