Don't Know How to Use Facebook? You're Fired!

According to the Daily Mail newspaper, the British intelligence agency MI5 has rolled out plans to lay off workers (including spies) who do not know how to use social-networking tools like Facebook and Twitter.

The cuts were announced by the organization's director-general, Jonathan Evans, who told Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee last month that some of the older secret agents possessed computer skills that were not up to snuff in the war against cyberterror. The belief is that part of fighting counterterrorism involves dealing with cyberthreats. That includes extremists who turn to social-networking sites to recruit followers and hold meetings. So the need for agents who understand the Internet's social landscape is becoming more and more crucial.

To be fair, this doesn't appear to be about a handful of agents afraid of technology. To infiltrate private terrorist forums and similar groups requires more than a basic understanding of social-networking tools. So even if a guy knows how to create an account and friend someone, it won't be enough. What the agency likely needs are people who are masters of the process and the etiquette and who know their way around even the shadiest corners of a given network. To get there, MI5 plans to fill the void by hiring younger, more tech-savvy recruits in the coming months.