Your tax dollars at work: State Dept blows $630K on Facebook Likes

Summary:There's just nothing about this story that's going to make you feel good. Sorry.

Here we go again. Government officials spending other peoples' money on idiotic endeavors. This time, a supposedly forward-thinking operation inside the United States Department of State decided to blow a ton of cash on scoring Facebook Likes.

Seriously. And it gets worse.

Our story begins with a Foreign Policy post stating that the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) paid for advertising and other programs to try to boost the number of Facebook Likes over the course of about two years, from 2011 to March 2013.

They did manage to inflate their Facebook page's Likes count from about 100,000 to over 2 million, but, according to a 57-page report from the State Department's own inspector general, the Likes didn't increase engagement, and reached an audience that's not really part of the IIP's charter.

While you're being annoyed at the cash dumped down this particular toilet, think about how much it cost to do a 57-page analysis of the program. We don't have any data on that, but I'm betting it wasn't cheap.

Oh, and while we're being unamused, here's a fun little tidbit: Apparently, IIP also used to run the America.gov website. Not anymore. Now, if you go to America.gov (A-frickin-merica-dot-frickin-gov), you get this message:

america.gov
Image courtesy of the United States government and your tax dollars at work.

It just makes me want to cry. Want one more thing to may you feel all warm and fuzzy? The title tag of the America.gov page says "Engaging the World". You can't make this stuff up.

Topics: Government : US

About

In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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