Basic environmental and scientific programs suffer but the State Department felt free to spend more than $630,000 on advertising campaigns to boost the number of Facebook “likes” for the agency’s pages on the website between 2011 and March 2013.
Under Secretary Hillary Clinton, 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. This was part of an effort to ramp up the department’s following on social media by setting up Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and blogs. The effort was criticized by many in the department who thought they should be spending money on things like diplomacy and cultural programs.
The inspector general agreed with the critics in the effort to “buy fans” for the department.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki that the agency currently spends $36,000 a year on the Facebook outreach program.
Here is Under Secretary of State Sally Fields discussing the increase of “likes” on Facebook: