You Like Me, You Really Like Me: State Department Spent $630,000 To Increase “Likes” On Facebook

images225px-Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_cropBasic 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:

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40 thoughts on “You Like Me, You Really Like Me: State Department Spent $630,000 To Increase “Likes” On Facebook”

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  3. No, no, no. This $630,000 was spent launching our future first woman president campaign on social media. Hey you gotta get those freebies while you can still manage the Arkansas drug running mafia under the radar.

  4. Leave it to someone in government to utilize funds like this….. Any private employer that had shareholders unless it was PR or geek site….. Would demand to know the reason for the waste of shareholder dollars…..

  5. Bron, I think that the ones who testified had an agenda, as did the congresspeople asking the questions.
    And yep democrats do politicize, some do lie, cheat, etc but the repubs have a much more glorious history for doing so and, to my knowledge, in larger realms.
    That is one of the failings of the dems. We do not know how to do so on as large a scale (but most also realize that is not the American, democratic, way of doing things. Repubs, esp lately, feel that is the only way to defeat the duly elected president and try and get their way. That is why they have tried and now are actively working to suppress the vote of those they think will vote democratic. Just as one immediate example

  6. Thanks for the link David
    The article seems to have a slant, esp noting “The visitor logs do not give a complete picture of White House access. Some high-level officials get cleared for access and do not have to sign in during visits. A Washington Post database of visitor log records cautions, “The log may include some scheduled visits that did not take place and exclude visits by members of Congress, top officials and others who are not required to sign in at security gates.”

    The White House press office declined to comment on which visits by high-ranking officials do and do not get recorded in the visitor log, but it is probable that the vast majority of visits by major Cabinet members do not end up in the public record
    And yet it continues “Nevertheless, many visits by current and former Cabinet members are in the logs, and the record depicts an IRS chief uniquely at home in the White House.”

    Shulman gave various reasons for the visits including egghunt and tax policy discussions. us helping the Department of Education streamline application processes for financial aid.”

    They cite a Fox person and then the writer writes Shulman said it “would not have been appropriate” to tell the White House about the IRS’s intimidation of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status

    The words intimidation of conservative groups is the writer’s not from Shulman. It doesn’t seem to matter that repeatedly the lie has been shown about this effort to make a scandal where there is none.

    Maybe I am reading it wrong but they say “Public White House records are incomplete, with records only showing visits after September 15, 2009. The White House releases several months of records at a time. The last few months should be released later this year.”

    Can I assume that somehow or other they were able to get records from prior to that time anyway having cited visits to Bush WH by their tax guy?

    1. leejcaroll- You can read more about records for visits to the White House at various links found on the following web page:

      The records are not considered public information and they are offered on a voluntary basis in order to increase government transparency. The records readily available right now are after September 15, 2009. They can be downloaded right off the website. To get other records, individual requests have to be made and approved by the government in order to obtain them. There also are pdf’s of visitation records for the Bush Administration on another web page.

      Most reporters spin information in articles to provide a narrative, and they often slant that narrative toward what they believe is interesting to them. Such certainly does happen with this story as well as others. It is an interesting fact that Shulman visited so many times. The why, from my perspective, probably has more to do with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) than anything else. Nevertheless, I do believe Obama knows more than he has admitted to us. I find his words carefully parsed. Furthermore, the IRS has always been a bully for whoever is in the White House. Whether that is because of inner loyalty to their perceived boss or from outside direction doesn’t really matter, IMO. It is abusive, and the fact that the IRS was pulling out Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny just because of their name is wrong. As long as the IRS exists, there will be abuse as people always fight over money and the IRS is all about money. It seems obvious to me that the tax code needs to be greatly simplified and the IRS trimmed down. Unfortunately, the ACA is taking us in the opposite direction, causing the IRS to hire more than 16,000 new IRS agents and lots of additional tax code.

  7. leejcaroll:

    so you dont think the people who went to congress were telling the truth about what happened?

    you dont think democrats can lie and cheat and steal? you dont think democrats can politicize things.

  8. I wrote a comment with only link but don’t see it.
    Bron, supposedly 100 visits? who said?

    “According to the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, the I.R.S. received 199,689 applications for tax-exempt status between 2010 and 2012. In 2012 alone, the agency received 73,319, of which about 22,000 were not approved in the initial review process. The inspector general looked at 296 applications flagged as potentially being from political groups. That means most of the applications pulled aside for further scrutiny in those years had nothing to do with politics, conservative or liberal, just as most of the red flags thrown up by the I.R.S.’s lookout lists were not overtly political. ”

    (This is in addition to SWM’s salon link)

  9. Bron, “supposed to” Do you have a click for that supposition?
    And this fro the Washington Post so you know that SWM’s salon link does not stand alone as to the truth of this fake scandal and conspiracy.

    Of the nearly 200,000 applications for tax-exempt status the IRS received between 2010 and 2012, it flagged 22,000 for further review. Of those, just 296 came from partisan political groups. In other words, notes the Times, “most of the applications pulled aside for further scrutiny in those years had nothing to do with politics, conservative or liberal, just as most of the red flags thrown up by the I.R.S.’s lookout lists were not overtly political.”

    What were some of the other groups flagged by the IRS? “Medical marijuana purveyors, organizations formed to carry out President Obama’s health care law, and open source software developers who create software tools for computer code writers and distribute them free of charge.” Unless Republicans can prove that the White House has it out for open-source developers as well as tea party activists, it’s hard to see how they continue to stand by their claims.”

  10. the head of the IRS is supposed to have visited the white house over 100 times.

    I imagine things were said or implied.

    HOIRS: Mr. President, I want to use the IRS to screw conservatives since I am a good democrat.

    POTUS: Doug, why are you telling me that? How do I answer a statement like that? We dont say things like that in Chicago. [to himself: we just do it, man these Washington punks wouldnt last long in Chitown.]

    HOIRS:Very good Mr. President.

    POTUS: Now you are talking, Doug.

    HOIRS to himself: POTUS didnt tell me not to. I take that as a big 10-4.

  11. SWM, I should have known. 10 – 1 if it is against a democrat, trying to sully their name, it is from Fox or its cohorts.
    I have noticed that the slant on this blog is starting to lean a little rightish. (And you’re right. You don; see that. I also haven; seen, although I may have missed it, any correction about the “IRS Scandal” despite even repub senators saying Obama knew nothing about it and it is not a scandal at all.

  12. SWM, We are 100% in agreement on corporate welfare and lobbyists. They feed off the public trough. But, talk to any salesman on a small level and they’ll tell you, even on a small level, all you have to do is schmooze a bureaucrat, buy them a lunch, and they’ll buy whatever you are selling. It’s NOT THEY’RE MONEY. And, what often happens, is they end up selling the govt. the loser products that nobody else wants. It’s a fundamental problem. I’ve worked for the govt. and seen it from both perspectives. And, I ran my own small biz. Do you think any small biz person worth their salt would be cavalier about buying something from a salesman, of course not. It’s THEIR MONEY. We citizens need to start realizing every penny the govt. has and spends is OUR MONEY.

  13. lee, The article was from Fox News. They very often attack government agencies and their actions while at the same time they protect the major beneficiaries of tax payer dollars, Northup Grumman, and the other defense contractors .If Hillary runs expect the Hillary bashing to reach a very shrill level here as many of the current posters lean right wing libertarian. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz could be popular choices. Never see a negative story about them and their actions.

  14. Gene H. 1, July 5, 2013 at 9:16 am

    So let me get this straight. The State Department is headed by someone that some feel should be our next President. The same State Department spent $630,000 to get fake votes on a service that is free to use, nobody really cares about anyway, is losing users and will probably be gone in 20 years.

    Add this to the NSA debacle going international in scope and our absolutely horrid diplomacy since the Bush years.

    Now what is that State is supposed to be doing again?


    Well said.

    And If I may add, at the same time that is going on more than that is being spent on military marching bands which have far more personell than the State Department has for diplomacy.

    Let me say it again, more is being spent on military marching bands (football, baseball, golf, basketball games; parades, etc.) than is being spent on diplomacy.

    There are more personnel in military marching bands than they are in the State Department corps who are to enhance our national reputation in the world:

    The U.S. military now has more people in its marching bands than the State Department has in its foreign service — and that’s preposterous.

    (The Big Taboo, NY Times). Since we also have about 854,000 people with top security clearance in the U.S. spy corps, it would not surprise me that we have more military NSA folk spying on us than we have State Department folk enhancing our national reputation in the world.

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