According to an Inspector General report released last month, the U.S. State Department spent over $630,000 to increase the likes on its Facebook page.
The campaign, conducted by the Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs, started in 2011 and continued for two years, growing the number of likes from 100,000 to over two million, according to the Washington Examiner. The expensive effort finally prompted employees to complain to a government watchdog.
Worse, it didn’t even work very well. The State Department’s demographic is older and less likely to engage with Facebook pages, while the likes the Department got were mostly passing clicks; the IG’s report estimates only two percent of those who liked the page actually interacted with it. “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,” the report read.
The Examiner also reveals that the Department has over 150 social media accounts, many of which overlap, and lacks an overall social media strategy. Gizmodo goes one further and asks why the State Department needs a social media strategy at all: “Why the hell does a State Department even need to grow its Facebook user base by throwing cash at the thing?”
As this is State Department-related, the countdown until someone links this to #BENGHAZI has no doubt already begun.
Read the article here.
[h/t Washington Examiner]
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