It’s the “Spy Who ‘Liked’ Me.”
The CIA wants to crack the code to Instagram popularity to soften up its shadowy image as part of a quirky new public relations campaign, according to a report Wednesday.
The notoriously tight-lipped agency is on a mission to gain more followers and likes on its social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, in order to portray itself as relatable, Politico reported.
The CIA is ramping up its social media presence, which began in 2014, to help dispel negative press and conspiracy theories that have plagued it in recent years, said Candice Bryant, head of the agency’s social media team.
“There’s people who don’t realize that we have a softer side here,” said Bryant, 37. ”So our audience is really the entirety of the American public.”
“[The goal is] demystify, educate, and then recruit,” she said.
Recent Instagram posts from the CIA include the image of a gay pride flag along with captions stressing the importance of retaining agents with “every cultural and linguistic background.” They also include first-person stories from CIA employees with hashtags such as #humansofCIA and #womencrushwednesday.
But the efforts to present the CIA as “just like us” have drawn criticism from observers, some of whom say makes the agency look weak — or guilty of whitewashing its own history, according to the outlet.
The agency now has 398,000 followers Instagram, 60,000 YouTube, 993,000 likes on Facebook and 3.2 million followers on Twitter.
But with TikTok, “obviously, there’s the Chinese risk,” a rep for the agency said.
In June, former TikTok employees expressed concern that the popular social media platform is being run by its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, and claimed it has access to US user data, CNBC reported.