Bureau at State Department spent $630,000 for Facebook 'likes'

U.S. -

The State Department's Bureau of the International Information Programs (IIP) spent $630,000 on two social media campaigns to boost 'likes' of the Department's Facebook pages.

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Copyright 2014 Reuters
Copyright 2014 Reuters

An Inspector General's report from May says between 2011 and March 2013, the bureau spent money on advertising and making adjustments to its Facebook pages to attract younger people to 'like' it.

The spending increased the number of the Department's four English-language Facebook likes from 100,000 to more than 2 million each and increased its foreign-language likes by about 450,000.

"Many in the bureau criticize the advertising campaigns as "buying fans" who may have once clicked on an ad or "liked" a photo but have no real interest in the topic and have never engaged further." Inspector General

The report also notes that the IIP has coordination issues with social media accounts that sometimes overlap with the Department's Bureau of Public Affairs (BPA). Total the Dept. has more than 150 social media accounts.

Among the recommendations issued by the report include adopting a social media strategy that clarifies the goals priorities of the Department's social media sites; and cut back on overlap by defining social media roles shared between the IIP and BPA. The Department has not commented on the issue.

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