The old adage that “money can’t buy you friends” is just not the case. It’s a statement that clearly came from someone without money. And it certainly doesn’t apply to the State Department.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), and Twitter for the matter, have grown to become something that few could have envisioned a few years ago. As Mohammed Morsi was being forced out of power in Egypt, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) was his go to means of communication before finally being arrested this week.
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State Department’s Facebook Page:
The State Department also values its Facebook page, and is more than happy to pay for your friendship and interest. Simply “liking” its page would have had you more involved in the Egypt coup(?) than Secretary John Kerry who was yachting in Nantucket during the removal of a sovereign nation’s leader.
Between 2011 and March 2013, the agency’s Bureau of International Information Programs used the funds on advertising to increase the number of fans for each of its four Facebook pages from 100,000 to more than 2 million, according to the May report.
In the grand scheme of things, this is a minor outlay in both the State Department and the nation’s budget. That, however, is not how many are viewing this report despite the fact that the money was paid to a U.S company.
State Department on online ads:
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki addressed the IG report in the department’s daily press briefing Wednesday, assuring that “spending on online advertising has significantly decreased.”
“It’s now at $2,500 a month, and that still allows us to reach out and communicate with a wide range of individuals living overseas,” Psaki said. “I think that’s a clear indication we’ve taken the recommendations seriously and put changes in place.”
As someone who lives overseas, I don’t have a problem with the State Department’s efforts to connect the international community with its home country, it just seems a touch desperate.
In the current military budget of $683.6 billion what is $700,000 more or less?
It is however, one of those announcements that garners more and more attention based on the politics of news organizations and the current administration.
For all intents and purposes, and desperation, the outlay was made and the program was a success. The company enlisted to increase followers was by all accounts “successful.” They did just that.