Military gets own social network after YouTube is blocked

Military OneSource has launched a social network for current and former military personnel and their families

The US military Tuesday launched TroopTube, a new site to upload and share videos, more than a year after the US Department of Defense banned YouTube from military networks for being a bandwidth hog.

TroopTube is designed to help military families connect and keep in touch when separated, according to a note on the new site. Users can quickly upload videos that can be shared privately with a subset of users, or with all users on the site, the note said.

TroopTube is run by Military OneSource, which provides online information and assistance to current and former military personnel and their families.

MilitaryOne directed a Computerworld reporter to the DOD press office for a comment regarding TroopTube. That office directed a Computerworld back to MilitaryOne.

The DOD blocked YouTube - and other social networking site like MySpace - on military networks in May 2007, saying that videos consumed too much bandwidth.

According to an Associated Press report Tuesday, the military worked with Delve Networks to build TroopTube. Users of the site can register as members or former of one of the branches of the armed forces, a member of the soldier's family, a civilian DOD employee or a military supporter, the story said. While members can upload videos from any Internet connection, a Pentagon employee screens each for taste, copyright violations and national security issues, the AP said.

Delve's chief executive Alex Castro told the AP that his company built tools for approving and sorting incoming videos on TroopTube. Delve's system can also turn a video's sound into a text transcript, the story noted. Castro added that the DOD views TroopTube as a retention tool aimed at deployed soldiers who are eager to stay in touch digitally with their friends and family.

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Heather Havenstein

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