Rumor: US State Department spent $630K on Facebook 'likes'

Screen grab from the U.S. Department of State's Facebook page.

Did the U.S. State Department really spend more than half a million dollars just to garner more likes on its Facebook page?

TRUE: Here's something taxpayers won't 'like'

A new government watchdog report says that a bureau within the State Department spent more than half-a-million dollars trying to get more Facebook “likes,” says The Washington Examiner. The spending happened between 2011 and March 2013, and totaled more than $630,000, according to the Examiner.

The department's Bureau of International Information Programs is the big spender, according to the report. And that money, spent mainly on advertising campaigns, did seem to do what it was intended to: the bureau's page went from 100,000 Facebook fans to over 2 million.

State Department spends $636K on Facebook likes

State Department spends $636K on Facebook likes
Duration: 1:08 Views: 1k MSN News/Newsy

But the inspector general's report reveals that those numbers are less impressive than they sound. “Despite the surge in likes,” says the Examiner, “The IG said the effort failed to reach the bureau's target audience, which is largely older and more influential than the people liking its pages. Only about 2 percent of fans actually engage with the pages by liking, sharing or commenting.” In other words, the government just figured out something you knew innately long ago: no one goes to Facebook to see which world leader Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with today.

The National Journal also looked at the IG's report and says some of that money was also spent on “page improvements.” Here's the Facebook page for the agency. It looks like...every other Facebook page. MSN News has tried to figure out what those “page improvements” actually amount to, but so far no one has responded to requests for comment.



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