News ASIO joins Twitter with ‘dad joke’ about following citizens
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ASIO joins Twitter with ‘dad joke’ about following citizens

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More than a decade since parody ASIO accounts began appearing on Twitter, the domestic intelligence agency has decided it is finally time to join the fun.

Following in the footsteps of its secretive colleagues at the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), ASIO’s Twitter debut came with a flourish of self-deprecating humour.

“Hi internet, ASIO here. I spy a new Twitter account,” the organisation posted at precisely midday on Monday.

“We thought it would be fun if you followed us for a change.”

ASIO’s big reveal on Twitter coincides with a makeover for the agency, which has just launched a new logo and brand.

But it was unable to snap up the Twitter handle @ASIO, which already exists as a parody of the spy agency.

For the first time in more than 70 years, ASIO also has an official motto, Securing Australia – protecting its people, as well as a modern blue and green logo.

The organisation’s director-general Mike Burgess is already an active Twitter user. He joined in 2014 and occasionally uses the social media platform to distribute official statements.

It was during his tenure as head of the ASD the electronic surveillance organisation fired off its first tweet in 2018.

ASIO boss Mike Burgess (right) is already an active tweeter. Photo: ABC

Several other Australian intelligence agencies are yet to formally join Twitter, but the current boss of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, Paul Symon, has a private and rarely used account.

So far, the only accounts ASIO is officially “following” on Twitter are those of federal politicians, as well as several Australian and foreign agency accounts.

The early reception from Twitter users to ASIO’s appearance was mixed, with critics suggesting “dad jokes” about mass surveillance were not funny.