Why Did NSA Write Security-Themed ‘Love Notes’ on Twitter?

Patrick Semansky/AP File Photo

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The agency's love notes reflect the growing use of social media by U.S. government agencies—with varying degrees of effectiveness—for self-promotion.

On Sept. 26, during a little-known quasi-holiday called “Love Note Day” that encourages the writing of sentimental blather to loved ones, there was one very unusual contributor to the gushing chatter on social media: the US National Security Agency (NSA).

In light of the NSA’s controversial surveillance scandals over the last few years, its love notes—posted on its official website—struck a somewhat comical, somewhat sinister tone.

Below, a sampling:


The NSA employees who created the e-cards may have intended them as a joke, or as a quirky public relations ploy to win back public trust. (The NSA did not respond to Quartz’s request for comment.) In either case, the outreach raised eyebrows on Twitter.

Awkward as they may be, the NSA’s love notes reflect the growing use of social media by US government agencies—with varying degrees of effectiveness—for self-promotion. Public swooning over the Twitter accounts of the Department of the Interior and NASA, for instance, have even lured covert agencies into the game. Earlier this year, the CIA showed off its own brand of humor—by pretending to be hacked by Russians on Twitter.