The social media presence will be dedicated to breaking “martini drinking stereotypes” and promoting career opportunities.
The UK’s domestic intelligence service, MI5, opened an official Instagram account on Thursday in the latest step for the country’s spy agencies to come out of the shadows.
The security service, as it is officially called, has started posting content under the handle @mi5official.
The organization said in a statement that it had made the move with the “aim of lifting the veil on what it is really like to work in the security service”.
“MI5’s social media content will shatter popular myths about its work, explain the world of intelligence, promote career opportunities and bring the events of MI5’s past 112 years to life,” he said.
MI5 also plans to host online Q&As with on-duty intelligence officers on the Facebook-owned social network, which has more than a billion users worldwide.
“We must overcome stereotypes”
Service boss Ken McCallum said “being more open” was key to MI5’s approach moving forward.
“MI5 making its slightly late debut on social media is just one example of the direction in which our open approach is taking us,” McCallum wrote Thursday in a commentary published by Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.
“If this is your thing, check out our Instagram page and follow us,” he added. “You can insert your own joke as to whether we will follow you.”
The agency, once famous for approaching potential new hires in low-key, obscure encounters, has begun posting job openings in recent years in a bid to broaden the diversity of its workforce.
“We need to move past any lingering stereotypes about martini drinking by conveying a bit more of what today’s MI5 actually looks like, so people don’t self-exclude based on perceived barriers such as the socioeconomic background, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, disability, or what part of the country they were born in,” McCallum wrote Thursday.
A 2018 parliamentary committee report sharply criticized Britain’s spy agencies for not reflecting modern Britain and lacking women and ethnic minorities in leadership positions.
The UK’s spy ring also includes the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) – better known as MI6 and home to the world’s most famous fictional ghost, martini-loving 007 James Bond – as well as the cybersecurity agency GCHQ.
GCHQ joined Instagram in October 2018.