IG report: State Department spent $630,000 to increase Facebook ‘likes’
By Josh Hicks, Washington Post Updated: July 3, 2013
JB comment: In all honesty, I don't quite understand what this article is really about. A simple explanation for the layman from social media experts -- or even better, from The State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs itself -- would be appreciated.
The State Department spent over $630,000 to increase Facebook “likes” for four of its pages on the social-networking site, according to an inspector general’s report.
The efforts, which involved advertising initiatives between 2011 and March 2013, increased the fan numbers for each page from about 100,000 to more than 2 million, the report said. But employees complained that the agency was “buying fans,” according to the inspector general.
The State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs came up with the campaign as a way to engage with foreign audiences, the report said.
The IG analysis found that number of Facebook users who actually engaged with each page was small, with only about 2 percent “liking,” sharing or commenting on any item within the previous week.
State’s ad campaign became less effective in September 2012, when Facebook changed its approach to users’ news feeds. The agency must now pay for sponsored ads to keep its content visible to people who have already “liked” its pages.
“This change sharply reduced the value of having large numbers of marginally interested fans,” the report said.
State Department officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
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