Network map of the followers of the 5-eyes agencies on Twitter

New Publication – ‘Hello, world’: GCHQ, Twitter and social media engagement

When GCHQ made their first tweet in 2016, many came to question for what reasons would one of the worlds most secretive intelligence agencies be on social media? After all, wouldn’t their job be to collect information, rather than giving it out?

Yet to date, no analysis has yet been undertaken regarding intelligence agencies use of social media outside the context of data collection and analysis. Therefore, myself, Dr Dan Lomas, and Dr Stephen Ward came together to analyse for what purposes they’re active on Twitter, and posit what impact this has had.

Through the use of social media collection of over 270,000 tweets, analysis and SNA we found a number of interesting discoveries. Ultimately, we find the use of social media by GCHQ is for recruitment and employer branding. With social media helping the agency reach out to a new tech-savvy generation.

But it isn’t just roses for the agency either – its presence on the platform can sometimes stoke and amplify conspiracy theories affecting issues such as brand identity as GCHQ adopts a new, media friendly approach.

You can read the new article, which has been published in the journal Intelligence and National Security here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/figure/10.1080/02684527.2020.1713434

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