MI5 Joins Instagram As Spy Agencies Step Out Of The Shadows

Peter Nicholls via REUTERS

Thames House, the headquarters of MI5, in London.

MI5 is opening an official Instagram account in the latest step by spy agencies to become more open about their work.

The secret service says the move is an attempt to bust popular myths and reveal never-before-seen archive material.

From Thursday, users will be able to follow the body via @mi5official in an effort by the organisation to be more transparent about its work.

The platform will be used for online Q&As with serving intelligence officers, as well as promoting career opportunities.

Historical exhibits from MI5’s museum, located in the basement of the agency’s London headquarters, will also be shared for the first time.

The agency follows GCHQ, which joined the Facebook-owned social network in October 2018.

It comes after new director general Ken McCallum said in his first media engagement in October that he wants MI5 to “open up and reach out in new ways”, particularly in communicating with younger audiences.

“Much of what we do needs to remain invisible, but what we are doesn’t have to be,” he said.

“In fact, opening up is key to our future success.”

Writing in The Telegraph, McCallum said it was time to cast off any “Martini-drinking stereotypes” and that it would be a “dangerous vanity” for the organisation to try to work “inside its own bubble”.

He wrote: “We must get past whatever Martini-drinking stereotypes may be lingering by conveying a bit more of what today’s MI5 is actually like, so that people don’t rule themselves out based on perceived barriers such as socio-economic background, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, disability, or which part of the country they happen to have been born in.”

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