Britain's MI6 recruiting spies on Facebook, report says

Will Facebook find the next James Bond?

Could the next James Bond be found on Facebook? Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6, hopes so after launching a series of advertisements this month to recruit employees, according to a report in Britain's Guardian newspaper on Monday.

MI6, which operates networks of agents in foreign countries, confirmed in the report that Facebook is one of a number of public channels it's using as a recruiting tool.

Three advertisements for MI6 pop up when users communicate with one another, the paper went on to note. One notes, "Graduates of all ages can develop long-term careers as operational officers, collecting and analyzing global intelligence."

Another asks "A career in world events? Help influence world events, protect the UK. Operational officer roles collecting and analyzing global intelligence."

A video on the Facebook MI6 site provides an overview of the administrator roles available at the organization and provides an online test of an applicant's skills.

Nick O'Neill, a blogger at All Facebook, said that the strategy could theoretically provide extremely targeted advertisements to recruit foreign nationals as well.

Thanks to Facebook's extremely high profile targeting capabilities, recruiters have jumped on the opportunity to promote new jobs," he added. "Companies have been testing out Facebook's targeting capabilities over the past year, but many have said that it is still challenging to spend a lot of money on the ad platform. One advertisement that probably didn't experience low click-thru rates was MI6's advertisement to be come a spy for the agency."

Facebook in August quietly launched a new type of advertisement aimed at helping to find a way for advertisers to profit from the treasure trove of demographic and other data it gathers from its members.

The new, so-called Engagement Advertisements encourage Facebook users to interact with ads by leaving comments or sharing virtual gifts with other members.

Facebook, which has grown by 153 percent in the past year to dominate the social networking landscape, also is being eyed by businesses for different applications within the enterprise.

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Heather Havenstein

Computerworld (US)
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