MI5 joins Instagram as part of drive to become more transparent

Content posted on social media by security service to include previously undisclosed archive documents

Kim Sengupta
Defence Editor
Wednesday 21 April 2021 22:28
Comments
<p></p>

MI5 is to join Instagram as part of a drive to come out of the shadows and be more transparent, counter misconceptions about its work and reach out to a younger generation. 

In its first outing on the platform, the security service will describe missions from its past, promote career opportunities for operatives of the future, delve into the language of the intelligence world and “bust popular myths” about what it does. 

Material posted will include hitherto undisclosed archive documents from the Service’s basement museum, followed by an online chat, and questions and answers with serving officers about  some of its most sensitive jobs like surveillance and agent running. 

MI5’s director general, Ken McCallum, said: “MI5 really does need a rich mix of talented people, from across all the UK’s communities. In today’s wonderfully diverse UK we want to spread our net as widely as possible, including crucially to people who haven’t ever thought of applying here”. 

Mr McCallum wanted to stress that it was imperative that the agency was as candid as possible, within the constraints of maintaining operational secrecy, about its role and the challenges it faces. 

He added: “If I want one thing to characterise my tenure in this role, it’s for MI5 to open up and reach out in new ways. ‘Much of what we do needs to remain invisible, but what we are doesn’t have to be. In fact, opening up is key to our future success”. 

MI5 wanted to point out that the Service and other security and intelligence agencies have taken a number of innovative steps to modernise. GCHQ and NCSC are already on Instagram. Richard Moore became the first MI6 chief to begin using Twitter last year. In  2017, Sir Andrew Parker became the first MI5 Director General to be interviewed on television, and the following year delivered the first live televised speech from Berlin. 

The Security Service’s embrace of Instagram, however, comes just days after it warned about the risks from using networking and social media sites. 

Mr McCallum warned they were being used on "an industrial scale" by rogue states and organised crime.  More than 10,000 British nationals working in government departments and key industries, he said, have been targeted by malicious profiles set up on behalf of hostile states over the past five years.  

Promoting the ‘Think Before You Link’ campaign, the director general said: “hostile foreign intelligence agencies have always sought access to personal information because they want to cultivate and recruit potential targets as sources. 

"In the past, attempted recruitment was time-intensive, experience and risky because foreign intelligence officers would need to operate on-location and in-person. Now, they can use the internet to work from the safety of their overseas headquarters, sending thousands of friend and networking requests with the click of a mouse." 

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in