MI5 plans to use Instagram to reveal never-before-seen material from its archives, as well as promoting recruitment opportunities and hosting online Q&As with serving intelligence officers.
However, director general Ken McCallum said the service would still need to keep many of its secrets so it can operate undetected in dangerous environments.
“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,” he wrote in The Daily Telegraph.
We must get past whatever Martini-drinking stereotypes may be lingering by conveying a bit more of what today’s MI5 is actually like
“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.”
Glasgow-raised Mr McCallum expressed hope the service being on Instagram would allow it to recruit Britain’s best and brightest, regardless of background.
“We must get past whatever Martini-drinking stereotypes may be lingering by conveying a bit more of what today’s MI5 is actually like, so that people don’t rule themselves out based on perceived barriers such as socio-economic background, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, disability, or which part of the country they happen to have been born in,” he explained.
The account, @mi5official, already had more than 38,000 followers by midday on Thursday.
MI5 follows GCHQ, which joined the Facebook-owned social network in October 2018.