The Central Intelligence Agency has gone social by launching profiles on Facebook and Twitter. And it is making headlines while doing so.
The CIA, founded in 1947, is a US federal government agency that's notoriously secretive and impersonal, to say the least. It's known for concealing top-secret and classified information and gathering intelligence. Although its main purpose is to collect intelligence about foreign governments, corporations, and individuals, as well as analyse that information, it has only just embraced social media possibly as a way of boosting public relations and tracking social data.
But it's not all suits, policies, and strict business for the CIA. The agency's first tweet on Twitter, posted on Friday, actually mocked a catchphrase it is known for repeating whenever asked to comment on a sensitive situation or story: "We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet."
That catchphrase is actually known as the Glomar response. There's an entire Wikipedia page that'll give you the long and short of it, but let's just say the CIA has been using it for a long time in order to not divulge any more information than necessary. And that's why it's amusing to see the agency ironically repeat the catchphrase in a tweet.
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Beyond Twitter, the CIA is also showing its more personal side on Facebook. When announcing that it has launched official social media accounts, the agency said it would participate in Throwback Thursday. It's a day every week when people on social media generally post pictures of themselves or others from years gone by. The CIA said it would post photos and fun facts to reflect on intelligence history.
You can follow the CIA on Twitter @CIA or Facebook at Facebook.com/Central.Intelligence.Agency. The agency's wide social media launch also includes official Flickr and YouTube accounts, and in the coming weeks, live streaming via Ustream.