Raluca Luțai: „Intelligence Services on Social Media: Explaining Citizens’ Perceptions about Information”, Working Paper Series, Center for Government Studies and Security Policies, Working Paper 1 / 2022, pp. 1-15.
Over the past decade, many public institutions, including intelligence services, have made extensive use of social media to reach out to citizens. Great scientific attention is given to the way intelligence agencies share information about their activities, seek to improve transparency and accountability, or content. However, we know very little about what happens at citizens’ end, when the information reaches the users. This paper addresses this gap in the literature and analyzes how citizens perceive the information shared by the intelligence services on social networks. We use Romania as a single-case study and the semi-structured interviews conducted in December 2020-January 2021 with citizens of different socio-demographic profiles to explain the variation in how they understand the information and how they assess its content. The paper aims to test the explanatory power of several variables such as attitudes toward security or exposure to the media. The paper also controls several socio-demographic characteristics such as age, gender, education, and medium of residence. The results reveal that the citizens’ perceptions are influenced by a combination of general attitudes regarding the intelligence services.