A PDF document from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) tells British troops how to use social networking websites such as Twitter or Facebook to keep the world informed of what they're up to.

The instructions suggest setting up sponsored blogs so that the individual armed services can promote their activities. Such feeds would require official approval.

Similar to the missive recently released by the department of Business, Innovation and Skills (see UK government offers advice on Twitter), the 13-page PDF encourages soldiers and other MoD staffers to talk about the role they play. The document also sets out the limits of what troops should, and should not mention.

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The document is released at a time when it is becoming increasingly difficult for the government to control the flow of information from overstretched armed forces, serving in hotspots such as Afghanistan. Officials worry that without some form of control, valuable and potentially life-threatening data could leak to enemy forces.

The tacit approval of blogging and Tweeting implied by the MoD guidance is in direct contrast to the attitudes of US officials: US Marines are banned from using Twitter, Facebook and other social networking websites.