State Dept. Paid $630,000 to Boost Facebook ‘Likes’

How much would you pay for more Facebook “likes”? If you’re the State Department, you’d shell out about $630,000.

According to a May report from the State Department’s Inspector General, which was recently made public, the agency spent more than half a million dollars on two campaigns in 2011 and 2012, intended to boost the number of fans for its English-language Facebook pages.

The effort actually worked – both pages jumped from 100,000 fans to about 2 million. But while the four pages for the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) had about 2.5 million fans each as of March 2013, engagement leaves something to be desired, prompting questions about whether that $630,000 was a good use of agency funds.

As of mid-March, only about 2 percent of fans had liked, shared, or commented on anything posted to the pages. Most of the engagement was in the form of “likes”; most posts had fewer than 100 comments or shares, the IG found.

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