#Whoa: CIA Launches Twitter, Facebook Accounts

Gil C/Shutterstock.com

'We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet,' the agency tweets.

The CIA joined Twitter and Facebook Friday, and if its first tweet is any indication, the agency has put some serious thought into how to explain itself in 140 characters or less.

“We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet,” the agency tweeted. 

The move is part of the agency’s effort to improve its public engagement and increase its online presence. The CIA’s newest social platforms join its public website and YouTube and Flickr accounts.

“By expanding to these platforms, CIA will be able to more directly engage with the public and provide information on CIA’s mission, history and other developments,” CIA Director John Brennan said in a statement. “We have important insights to share, and we want to make sure that unclassified information about the agency is more accessible to the American public that we serve, consistent with our national security mission."

The agency said it will post the “latest news, statements and career information from the CIA,” as well as feature artifacts and other information from the CIA’s Museum, which it described as “the best museum most people never get to see.” The agency also plans to publish unclassified intelligence history and updates from its World Factbook.

The CIA is the latest intelligence agency to jump to Facebook and Twitter, but not the first -- the FBI, Office of Director of National Intelligence, National Security Agency and several others already have social media presences. Most recently, the Obama administration launched the IC on the Record Twitter account following last year’s intelligence surveillance leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

While the CIA is undoubtedly a social media newbie compared to some of its federal brethren -- the State Department, for example, joined Twitter in October 2007 -- it does have the advantage of learning from those agencies’ past mistakes. The agency spent significant time discussing its social strategy and what the its presence on Twitter and Facebook would look like, so expect an active, engaging and quick-responding presence – on both platforms. The agency knows that anything but a stellar social showing will ensure significant criticism, and it won’t want to trend on either platform for the wrong reasons.

(Image via Gil C/Shutterstock.com)