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.
Historical exhibits from MI5’s museum, located in the basement of the agency’s London headquarters, will also be shared for the first time.
In October new director general Ken McCallum said that he wanted MI5 to “open up and reach out in new ways”, particularly to communicate 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 Daily Telegraph on Thursday, he said: “In an increasingly open and connected world, MI5, and any forward-thinking intelligence organisation, faces a dilemma.
“On the one hand, our ability to serve the public and keep the country safe depends critically on operating covertly.
“But the other half of the dilemma is that MI5’s ability to keep the country safe and resilient also depends on our reaching out to others who can help us, and whom we in turn can help.
“We owe it to the public to be constantly striving to learn and improve; and in our fast-moving world, with technology advancing at incredible speed, it would be dangerous vanity to imagine MI5 can build all the capabilities it needs inside its own bubble.”