It has long-trolled social media to unearth global trends and stay on the heels of those whose intentions aren't good. And now it's extending its reach even further: The CIA has officially joined Twitter and Facebook on Friday, Reuters reported.
The spy agency described this move as an attempt to get its message out better and engage directly with all of us, but its first Twitter message, sent out a little before 2 p.m. EDT, didn't announce any significant revelations: "We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet," the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency said.
The Internet went bonkers. In about two hours the cyptic message had been retweeted over 85,000 times and the CIA had gained more than 105,000 followers, CNN said.
Some on Twitter had fun with the announcement:
"@CIA how does it feel to be followed for once?" replied one Twitter user.
The CIA also joined Facebook, as the agency is apparently trying to appear cheerier on the Internet. The CIA's Facebook page is www.facebook.com/central.intelligence.agency. Its Twitter handle is @CIA.
The Central Intelligence Agency has long had a public website, and it also has official accounts on YouTube and the photo-sharing site Flickr.
"By expanding to these platforms (Facebook and Twitter), 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.
Some of the items to be posted include artifacts from the CIA's museum (which is non-public) and updates to "World Factbook," which covers international leaders, maps and similar such information.
Critics have been claiming that the Obama administration has been cracking down on relations between reporters and intel officials, Reuters noted.
The wire service said that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has banned intelligence officials from talking to journalists without permission -- that even goes for unclassified information -- and also from citing reports based on unauthorized disclosures.