State Department Buys Your Friendship on Facebook

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.

State Department Buys Your Friendship on Facebookr

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.

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.



About the Author

Brendan Byrne
While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at theflask@gmail.com