The TSA Displays Its Catches on Instagram

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Someone thought this was OK to take on a flight…

The U.S. government has been making a bigger appearance on social media in recent years. The Twitter @CIA account caused a major stir with its presence alone, and a selfie with Obama may mean a ban on future presidential selfies. But sometimes, it seems that government agencies get things right. Case in point: The TSA are apparently quite good at Instagram.

The TSA catches a variety of badly-disguised prohibited items at their security checkpoints, from drugs and loaded handguns to sword canes and lipstick tasers. And that’s not even mentioning the cute bomb sniffing dog pictures. Obviously the TSA is interested in having travelers get through security as quickly as possible, and would prefer flyers leave their novelty-bomb alarm clocks at home.

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The security agency also takes nice pictures of the stuff it’s catching, and uses the #TSAcatch to enable Instagrammers to keep up with the weird stuff people bring to the airport. It’s a campaign that allows the TSA to get their message across about prohibited items, and the result is that the agency is leading the conversation.

In fact, the TSA have been spreading this message for quite some time now, with a blog that catalogs just how many firearms and other weapons show up at the airport every week. The posts also track gun specifics like calibre, loaded/unloaded condition, and the airport where the gun was discovered.

Social networks can often do a lot to expose crime or even bolster terrorists, but police and government forces are discovering the benefits of having a social media presence. Police in Redwood, Calif. are even using Pinterest as their lost and found. If more agencies start getting on board, they could provide a somewhat friendly face for the government. Almost like a customer service representative.

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