June 22, 2021

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British Spy Agency MI5 Joins Instagram To Get Past ‘Martini-Drinking Stereotypes’

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Topline

Britain’s secretive domestic intelligence service, known as MI5, joined Instagram Thursday in a bid to boost transparency, bust myths and appeal to a more diverse range of recruits, something the agency’s director said will need to be balanced against the need to operate in the shadows.  

Key Facts

Ken McCallum, the agency’s head, said “being more open” is critical to MI5’s approach to the 2020s but that does not mean the organization will “become an open book.”

MI5 intends to use the account to debunk popular myths about the agency, promote career opportunities, highlight historical exhibits from its museum and host Q&As with its officers. 

The agency’s first post, an image of its London headquarters, said the secret to successful spying is to “consider all angles. It’ll give you a better view.”

McCallum acknowledged the agency’s “slightly belated debut” to social media, noting that the decision was “more interesting when you’re in the business of keeping secrets.” 

Some agencies may not describe the delay as slight—GCHQ, Britain’s cybersecurity intelligence agency, joined Twitter in 2016 and Instagram in 2018 and the CIA, which joined Instagram two years ago, created its Twitter account way back in 2014. 

Crucial Quote

In encouraging people to follow the new account, McCallum said people “can insert your own joke about whether we will be following you.”

Further Reading

To keep Britain safe, MI5 is becoming more open (Telegraph)

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