July 3, 2013
State Department Facebook Page Costs Taxpayers $630,000

The US State Departments Facebook page has cost US taxpayers a whopping $630,000. The money was spent by the US State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP). The money was used to advertise Facebook pages in an attempt to gain more page "Likes."

The agency runs four English-language Facebook pages and used the cash to move from 100,000 to two million people over a two year period.

According to the Inspector General's (IG) report, the large number of new followers arrived by way of two expensive 2011 and 2012 advertising campaigns.

The Bureau also advertised in order to move their fan numbers on foreign language pages from 68,000 to 450,000.

The State Department Facebook page ad spend led researchers to write in the IG report:

“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."
That's not even the worst part. The Inspector General's office monitored the bureau's pages for a week and found that only two percent of all users who have liked the State Department Facebook pages actually engage with the agency.

Engagement became a huge problem for the agency when in September 2012 Facebook changed its like page rules. Under new Facebook rules, only users who directly interact with a Facebook page see it appear in their news feed.

The IG report further notes:

“This change sharply reduced the value of having large numbers of marginally interested fans and means that IIP must continually spend money on sponsored story ads or else its ‘reach’ statistics will plummet."
American taxpayers are likely to take further issue with the fact that their taxpayer money is going to the purchase of unengaged Facebook likes.

Do you think the State Department Facebook page wasted taxpayer dollars?