A look at the usage of Facebook by the Sri Lankan armed forces.
The recent flooding in Sri Lanka pushed us to look into the method in which this was handled by the relevant authorities, with social media as a focus. The fact that many instances where social media could have been used to better the management of the crisis were overlooked, was observed. Here is what we found out about the use of social media by the military forces of Sri Lanka in comparison to some of our neighbouring countries.
The Indian Army Facebook page
The Facebook page of the Indian Army is clearly verified and is the official page run by the force. The level of updates that include their recruitment adverts, images and videos of current events etc and even daily updates wherever applicable have been done on a regular basis. There is no disruption to the content of the page, as per the content that has been shared on it.
Page likes – 5,628,297
Page follows – 5,583,450
The Nepalese Army Facebook page
The page is verified and is clearly run by the armed forces of Nepal, with regular updates on their attempts to help civilians, any special events and general information. In addition to this, the contact information of the military base is also well indicated so that anybody could contact the admin of the page. The page also displays high quality, strategically snapped photographs which clearly indicate the service of the military forces and their attempts to help out. This shows well-managed usage of social media.
Page likes – 39,928
Page follows – 39,964
The Sri Lankan Army Facebook Page
In comparison, the Facebook page of the Sri Lankan Army, cannot be clearly identified. In other terms, upon searching for the page, you will see a number of links, all verified as follows: https://www.google.lk/search?q=sri+lanka+army+facebook+page&oq=sri+lanka++army+facebook+page&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i60l3.5451j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
On Facebook, none of the pages that are shown is updated correctly with the current news of the armed forces. The number of followers and likes are less compared to the above-mentioned ones. For example the statistics for the page at https://www.facebook.com/SL-ARMY-101521093229071/
Page likes – 2,641
Page follows – 2,627
http://www.defence.lk/, on the other hand, is a page that looks to be run by the defence ministry. However, the structure and the content on this page seems to indicate more of general news as opposed to timely matters in direct correlation to national security and the likes.
The pages are not updated regularly and if at all there are any news items or images posted regarding the recent floods in the island, they seem to be shared by others outside of the page admin. The exact contact information or any other description with regards to the pages are unclear.
Most often, the armed forces of Sri Lanka have helped out civilians to a great deal when it comes to times of crisis and nowadays when almost all of Sri Lanka is online, it is a big disadvantage for the country’s defence systems to not be using or updating it correctly.