Ethically, what would you do? Politics on social media

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You are a member of a small Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) unit with a diverse combination of backgrounds. Training in close quarters have made you all close friends. A high-profile election is coming up, which you have discussed with your peers at length. Even though you have different perspectives, you respect each other’s opinions, and do not let this impede your relationship.

Casey is a fellow unit member, and one of your friends on Facebook. While her profile is private, you can see that she has about 1000 friends, and her personal information states that she has been married since 2009, and that she is from Manitoba. Her work information and interests are not listed. Her profile picture shows her in CAF uniform.

You notice that Casey has been interacting with and sharing posts related to the upcoming election. For instance, three days ago she shared an interview that featured a political commentator with the following comment:

“Such a good watch! Summarizes why we need to vote for a candidate who supports a carbon tax. Check it out if you’ve got six minutes to spare.”

Yesterday, she shared a speech by another candidate and asked the following:

“Hmm… What do we think of her platform?”

While you know that CAF members are not allowed to express political opinions while on duty, this situation is less clear. Casey’s profile is private, and she does not seem to be publicly endorsing any particular candidate or organization. She is also not posting her own original content, such as a standalone status, of a political nature.

What do you do? Does it make a difference if Casey’s profile picture was one of her not in CAF uniform? Does the actual content of the shared posts, or what she comments, matter in this situation?

Send reader feedback and suggestions for future scenarios.

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