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AWOL Afghan Soldiers Actively Used Facebook, Even While at Large

mugshots of AWOL soldiers
Last week, a nationwide be-on-the-lookout (BOLO) alert was sent to law enforcement agencies across the country after 17 soldiers in the Afghan military went AWOL from a Texas Air Force base, where they had been learning English. Even as they were in the middle of escaping the law, though, many of the deserters still managed to spend some quality time on Facebook.

Not long after the BOLO bulletin was issued, Fox News took it upon itself to search for the soldiers on Facebook, and discovered that 11 of the 17 had profiles on the social networking site. More surprising, however, was the fact that many of the men continued to update their profiles, even while they were at large. Some even exchanged Wall posts with each other, and openly responded to media inquiries sent to them via the site. One deserter was so insouciant about his legal status, in fact, that he even posted a story about the missing soldiers on his profile, and requested to be friends with the Fox reporter who had sent him a message about his whereabouts.

Fox has an overly detailed breakdown of each soldier's profile, so if you want to read it and laugh at the Afghans' broken English or penchant for paid webcam sex, check it out here. For us, though, the story just goes to prove that Facebook clearly means different things to different cultures. We may spend a lot of time hemming and hawing about privacy controls or our online images, but that's only because we've been exposed to social networking since its inception, and have had to use it according to certain social standards. People in other parts of the world, though, may adhere to a completely different behavioral protocol when it comes to social networking, due, perhaps, to completely different sets of cultural norms.

We doubt that these soldiers really believed they had done nothing wrong, and we don't think they consciously used Facebook to draw the attention of the media. They simply applied their own set of digital standards to a social context that probably demanded otherwise. [From: FOXNews]

Tags: afghanistan, AfghanistanWar, AirForce, awol, facebook, law, military, privacy, socialnetworking, soldiers, top, web