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#Grenades and #travel: the TSA wins Instagram with its feed of confiscated items

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TSA Instasgram account (Credit: TSA Blog Team/Instagram)
TSA Instasgram account (Credit: TSA Blog Team/Instagram)

Something explosive is happening on Instagram these days. No, not just the newly added support for 15-second videos. No, not the new White House Instagram account. All of those developments pale in comparison to the official new Instagram account for the US Transportation Security Administration. Late last week, the "TSAblogteam" account began publishing photos of dangerous items the agency confiscated from travelers at airports across the country. Already, it has amassed pictures of all sorts banned items, from fireworks to loaded guns to grenades, even knifeguns. Armed with a hefty supply of hashtags ("The perfect #knife to bring to a #gunfight") and displaying a savvy use of photo filters, the TSA's Instagram feed puts most other users to shame, let alone other government and organizations' accounts.

"The perfect #knife to bring to a #gunfight"

The TSA's Instagram account came to our attention by way of Forbes contributor Grant Martin, who points out that the TSA is no stranger to social media, having launched its own blog featuring confiscated items back in 2008. It also maintains a number of Twitter accounts. But Instagram is a far more visual, and arguably visceral way of conveying just how many dangerous items would-be fliers attempt to bring aboard airplanes on a regular basis. For those whose items have been seized, it's also a reminder that the government clearly doesn't have a problem making a public example of those who disobey the rules.

The launch of the TSA's Instagram feed comes at an interesting period for the agency, just a few weeks after numerous public complaints forced it to retreat from a plan to allow small knives, baseball bats and other potentially dangerous sporting equipment back aboard planes for the first time since the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks. With the TSA still collecting those items for the foreseeable future, it will be a good bet that some will show up on its Instagram feed before long, too.