back to article UK spooks poke Facebook for new spies

The British Secret Service has given up trawling the Oxbridge Junior Common Rooms for new recruits and begun advertising on Facebook instead. The Queen's own spooks are running one advert aimed at university graduates, and another at those bored of their current jobs. It reads: "Time for a career change? MI6 can use your …


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  1. Robert Grant Silver badge

    A little less of the crazy next time?

    "Presumably being a screaming self-publicist whose ego can only be propped-up by broadcasting one's every like and dislike via the internet"

    I was going to say that I'd love to know what's wrong with your life that you must lash out so idiotically, but then I realised I wouldn't love to; I don't care. I use Facebook as an easy way to see friends' photos (I don't have many of me on there); to tell people things that they wouldn't normally hear until a long time later; and to have a bit of fun.

    When the moronic El Reg fascination with stereotyping Facebook users finally withers under the low-powered light of /any/ rational thought, wake me up.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    Flippin jobs are all based in London though :(

  3. Ash

    Dear Sirs...





  4. Solomon Grundy

    @Robert Grant

    "I use Facebook as an easy way to see friends' photos (I don't have many of me on there); to tell people things that they wouldn't normally hear until a long time later; and to have a bit of fun."

    Hahahahahaha. You use Facebook.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Delicious troll, must not eat..

    @Robert Grant

    The escalating levels of paradox between; your criticism of the article, the articles criticism of the choice of HM's Rockin' Unspecified Services, my criticism of your criticism, the heretofore following criticisms and accusations of hypocrisy, and the moderatii's eventually eye rolling is genuinely causing my head to hurt; so I will take the gentlemans way out, and politely ignore you.

    It is a sad state of affairs when it can be a genuine and founded hope that the best and brightest (or at least the better and less dim) the country produces can be firstly expected to be found on social networks, secondly expected not to have not inconsiderate levels of ad fltering and thirdly not already have more lucrative and less soul destroying career prospects. What is even more disheartening, is that it will probably work, and the less than demonstrably superior specimens of edumacation will be responsible for doing something that not everyone can do, probably with less than sufficient oversight.

    Why they dont just steal/blackmail people who already have the skills they need is beyond me.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    @Robert Grant

    Not all Snarks are Boojums. Not all Facebook users have IQs in double digits (and judging from some of the stuff I have seen posted on there, many of them don't have the intelligence <insert deity here> gave a sandfly).

    Like a few BMW & Volvo drivers, there are exceptions to every rule...

    I don't have a Facebook account. I do not want a Facebook account. I do not care what Sarah from Maine had for lunch yesterday, or how 'bad' she thinks she needs to do certain things (like get her nails done for the fourth sodding time this week!).

    Never mind Rosetta@ Home finding a cancer cure, stop wasting all the kit on those Social Networking sites, put the hardware to some real use, and get the lazy lUsers out into the real world - where they might actually make *real* friends. Heaven help Facebook users if a half-decent Turing AI gets loose on the 'Net....

    And it never ceases to amaze me how so many of these fools claim they want to save the planet, but then waste electricity poking their friends every five minutes. I say we should poke the whole damn lot of them with a goddam cattleprod!

  7. TimM

    James Bond is having lunch with Ivana Humpalot

    Guess it's one way of keeping track of your spies.

    Next they'll be Twittering their location on their GPS enabled phones.

    On a serious-ish note though re Facebook. The (only) value I see in it is as a replacement for Friendsreunited now no one bothers with that.

    It's fairly tame if you just stick to the odd few people you know well and would like to keep in contact with. Hence I have few friends on Facebook! :-) (well I just have no friends full stop).

  8. Edward Rose

    @@Robert Grant

    Oi, I'm out in the real world. Hardly ever in the house really. And, I use Facebook - with a high IQ might I add (that's not a claim that English is one of my strengths after a day at work).

    And, I still don't have any friends!!!! How do you do it?

    Or, on a more serious note - I live a long way from where I used to. To keep in touch with old friends is actually a nice thing to be able to do.

    And, no, I don't block ads. Pictures of scantily clad females coming up for an advert keeps me happy.

  9. Peyton


    Erm... AC... for someone who does not have a Facebook account, you seem to know an awful lot about it. Admitting your problem is the first step to recovery. =D

    I will own up to having a Facebook account (I was forced into it - I swear! ;) - it's not too bad once you get it configured to block out all the white noise. I've moved around a lot, and it's handy for keeping in touch with old friends, etc. There is definitely a generational aspect to it though - how my older FB "friends" interact with me and how the younger ones (read: Gen Y's) do really couldn't be more different. For that and other reasons, I actually find it kind of interesting on a, I dunno, sociological level.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    @ ac 14:22

    "my criticism of your criticism" - you should never pooh pooh a pooh pooh.

    also, could it be that they are having the same skills shortage that the it industry is supposed to be having?

    Having outsourced all thier low level jobs to the locals (cheaper and more effective than trying to insert an englishman with a tan), we now come accross the sabre rattling russia where the standard of living is high enough thats its cheaper to send brits in. (even if they do get sent back a touch quick these days) except a lot of the brits still in the service are middle management or handlers - or worse - are "known" to the rusians

    see also:

    reg articles about "skills shortage" and "outsoucing"

    It could also be an attempt to try to reconnect with the 'yoof' of today as the middle managers near retirement.

    004: We need some fresh blood, what did we do when we were kids?

    009: Drink cider in the park?

    004:Well yes, but we dont want any of that riff raff in, what did the boffins and toffs do?

    009:play whip the ladyboy in the showers? keep their head down working allowing the bitterness of <watching the popular people get laid> to fester?

    004:Yes! thats it! Working on their computer! How can we snare those little geeks?

    it reads like those bank ads... "there is another way" etc

  11. Simon


    the whole point of facebook is to allow those people, who feel the need to blab about everything, to blab about everything!

    Not an ideal place to recruit some SIS operatives, I would guess.

    If they do, at least we'll be able to forget about losses of data via the current, in vogue, methods.

  12. amanfromMars Silver badge


    "Heaven help Facebook users if a half-decent Turing AI gets loose on the 'Net...." .... By Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 29th September 2008 14:32 GMT

    And QuITe Probably Also Spun to be So, AC. :-) Let IT Be v2.0?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks like they are after shills

    One of the sociology tricks is to take an event and lessen or emphasise certain things, by getting people to put out a logical but perhaps less than honest appraisal of events.

    If that is coming from what you perceive to be another common person then the chances of you taking on that information is greater, than if it comes from say a news source nowadays.

    People have become sceptical, and they know that news places withhold information at the behest of military intelligence and other security services.

    So, really they are looking for puppets where they can control what is said at certain times for a few slivers of silver, and a paw mark on the official secrets act.

    It is actually a bit double edged, because it will take emphasis off common sense views when discovered, tarring all with the same old brush and all that, which is where this is ultimately probably heading.

    Though MI6 is meant to be for foreign operations, but hey who knows now perhaps we are the foreigners in our own country. They are not looking for white code in reverse.

    Facebook and the like is probably profiled as being non tech, if you cannot upload information yourself to the net they are not after you for your elite facebook form submission skillz, they are after you for your gob.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People who don't use facebook

    All those people who think they are so clever not to use facebook are the same sort of troglodytes who dismissed the internet, computers, mobile phones, telegrams, writing, fire, etc. When you get over yourself and realise that it is merely a means to an end and actually aids communication and socialisation you might finally see the benefit.

    YOU may well see the 5 people you know on a daily basis and have no need to see what they are up to but for my generation at least, getting a decent job and being able to afford to live requires more flexibility about where you are located than ever before. My friends are scattered across the country and facebook is an excellent tool not only for arranging events but for keeping in touch with those day to day things that you simply wouldn't bother to mention in a phone call. Those things ARE important, it is those things which really keep the familiarity and stop you from drifting apart.

    When you talk to people on a daily basis do you add in pointless chit chat or do you cut that out and say only what is necessary like a lifeless robot? The same applies to pokeing and the rest of the add on junk. It is not quite as pointless as it first appears.

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