“No, we don’t know where Tupac is”, the The CIA tweeted in 2014.
In 2016, the agency tweeted a real-time account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden on its fifth anniversary. A spokesperson for the agency told ABC at the time that the tweets were meant to “remember the day and honor all who contributed to this achievement.” However, the move was largely nipped and left many wondering why an intelligence agency needed to have a social media presence.
The CIA’s Instagram account features lighthearted series including #humansofCIA, which highlights employees. The agency, which did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday, also recently rebranded its website with a decidedly minimalist aesthetic.
Other intelligence agencies, including the FBI, which has Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, and YouTube accounts, are active on social media.
Michael Landon-Murray, a professor at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs who has studied the use of social media by American intelligence agencies, said social media has become a part of “image and brand management. “for intelligence agencies and” a box that must be checked. “
“A lot of what intelligence agencies do is kind of inherently bad business,” he said. Social media can be a way for organizations to demystify the public about their operations and “look cool, look funny – in a way, almost fool the public,” he said.
Those who follow intelligence agencies on social media tend to either fully support the agencies or be antagonistic towards them, he said.
“I think there are potentially useful uses and ultimately hope that if the public understands intelligence agencies better, we can have better conversations about things like the effectiveness of advanced interrogation techniques,” he said.