By: Chandra Johnson, Deseret News
The Central Intelligence Agency may (or may not) have a Twitter account.
In the wake of the agency's clever first tweet
late last week, the Twittersphere has made the account viral, garnering nearly 600,000 followers in just three days.
The Washington Post reported
that CIA Director John Brennan said the agency has embraced social media as a chance to better engage with the public. While the account has only sent three tweets, the public has certainly been engaging the agency.
On the friendlier end of the spectrum, tweets have come mostly from other government agencies but also included media outlets like Forbes
, who proclaimed that the CIA "gets" Twitter.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency got in on the fun
, tweeting a hello that included a link to devices that later self-destruct "if you change your mind later on."
Former President George H.W. Bush tweeted a welcome
"from your former boss' presidential library. But then, you already knew that."
But not everyone is happy with the agency's presence. @HillStaffer tweeted
: "Yo @CIA, who'd you have to kill to get that username? Or someone at the NSA just snagged you the password?"
"Twitter says that @CIA is only following 25 people. ... I bet the real number is higher," user @TheThomasKeegan tweeted.
Other exchanges were even less cordial. As The Wire reported
, it only took a couple of hours for the agency to get into its first Twitter skirmish with the New York Review of Books, which sent out a rapid barrage of tweets highlighting interrogation techniques.
Amnesty International wasn't laughing
, either, tweeting, "Would be great if @CIA put at least as much effort into following the law as they do into getting Twitter followers."
The Guardian's Owen Jones
also shook his head at the new public outreach technique, writing that the CIA's "cute first tweet can't cover its bloody tracks."
"As the agency strives to craft a cuddly new image, we mustn't allow it to whitewash its history of torture and murder," Jones wrote.
The online backlash is a bit of a baptism by fire for the late-arriving agency, as news outlets like The Wire offer barbed advice: "Welcome to Twitter, @CIA. Perhaps some of the intelligence you've gathered over the years will tell you how to deal with trolls."
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