Top line

British intelligence agency MI5 joined Instagram on Thursday to increase transparency, shatter myths and appeal to a wider range of recruits. The agency’s director said this needs to be weighed against the need to operate in the shade.

“Shaken, not stirred” is a catchphrase used by the fictional MI6 agent James Bond, referring to how he likes it … [+] his martini was preparing.


Key factors

Ken McCallum, the agency’s head, said “being more open” is critical to MI5’s approach in the 2020s, but that doesn’t 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 conduct Q&A with its officials.

The agency’s first post, a picture of their headquarters in London, said the secret to successful espionage is “to look at all angles. You get a better view”.

McCallum paid tribute to the agency’s “slightly belated debut” on social media, noting the decision “is more interesting when it comes to keeping secrets”.

Some agencies may not describe the delay as minor – GCHQ, the UK’s cybersecurity agency, joined Twitter in 2016 and Instagram in 2018, and the CIA, which joined Instagram two years ago, set up its Twitter account back in 2014.

Crucial quote

McCallum encouraged people to follow the new account, saying that people “can insert their own joke about whether we will follow you”.

further reading

To protect Britain, MI5 is getting more open (Telegraph)