State Dept., Pentagon open Facebook, Twitter use

The U.S. Defense Department and State Department are allowing greater use of Facebook and Twitter - along with a warning about spies.

The U.S. Defense Department and State Department are allowing greater use of Facebook and Twitter, while warily noting that social media can be a boon for spies and "compromise operational security."

The approval came with the usual caveats for employees: don't disclose classified information; maintain a distinction between an official and personal account; and "be alert to the potential targeting of users for intelligence-gathering purposes."

Alec Ross, a senior advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is an active user of Twitter, with about 288,000 followers. The department also has created YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook accounts and distributes podcasts through iTunes. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the highest-ranking U.S. military officer, sends out messages as "TheJointStaff" on Twitter.

For more on this story, read Pentagon, State Department OK social-network use on CNET News.