x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

CIA comes out of the shadows

The CIA belatedly launches into Twitter, but rest assured, it's probably won't be following you.

The Central Intelligence Agency prides itself on being one step ahead of America’s enemies. But when it comes to social media, it has been lagging behind quite badly. Eight years after Twitter was launched, the agency has only just started tweeting. How­ever, it does have an excuse: it first had to wrest control of the @cia handle. The name once belonged to the Cleveland Institute of Art but has reportedly been in the hands of an impersonator. The agency obtained it in the usual manner – by complaining to Twitter.

The reason the CIA is on social media is so it can “more directly engage with the public”, and its first official tweet, on Friday, demonstrated that spies do have a sense of humour. It read: “We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.”

This news raises the tantalising prospect of getting a Twitter message announcing “the CIA is following you”. Sadly, at the time of writing, despite attracting more than 350,000 followers in 24 hours, the CIA is only following 25 other Twitter users, mostly US government agencies such as the FBI, Nasa and the Department of Homeland Security.

Of course, it would be paranoid to suggest that just because they’re not “following” you doesn’t mean they’re not following you.