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Russia’s Military Is Banning Selfies Because Soldiers Keep Revealing Their Location to the Enemy

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Russian soldiers may soon be unable to snap a quick selfie with their brothers-in-arms.

A new draft law from Russia’s Ministry of Defense bans contract soldiers and military personnel from posting on social media over fears it could reveal their location to the enemy while deployed on the battlefield, the BBC reports.


Russia’s Defense Ministry warned that foreign intelligence agencies and terrorist groups could use information posted by Russian soldiers to “destabilize the internal political and social situation in various regions of the world,” according to the Moscow Times. The concern is over geolocation data — now a regular feature of most social media networks — that can be used to identify the origin of a post or photo to within a few meters. Journalists have used this data to track troop movements and confirm the location of Russian soldiers.

In one instance, BBC Ukraine reporter Myroslava Petsa identified a post by a Russian soldier transporting rockets to eastern Ukraine, where conflict has raged since April 2014.

Another day,another #Russia's soldier bragging abt attacking #Ukraine. Mikhail Chugunov wrote "With Grads to Ukraine" pic.twitter.com/DKWyGIubXu

— Myroslava Petsa (@myroslavapetsa) July 28, 2014

Russia has consistently denied reports that it is supporting pro-Russian fighters, which it characterizes as enthusiastic nationalists, in the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. But Vice News reporter Simon Ostrovsky was able to use social media activity to confirm the presence of Russian soldiers in Ukraine.

The selfie ban is expected to take effect in January 2018.


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Write to Eli Meixler at eli.meixler@time.com