DISLIKE: State Department spends $633,000 to increase Facebook “likes”

Promoted Facebook pages, we've all seen them sitting at the top of our newsfeed trying to make you like their page so they can expand their reach and/or customer base. But what would you do if you logged into Facebook and now a promoted post from the United States State Department?

Well, it's unclear exactly what type of Facebook campaign the State Department was running, but it seems that many of Americans may have experienced just that. According to a May report from the Office of the Inspector General, the department's Bureau of International Information Programs spent $630,000 on two Facebook campaigns to increase its number of followers on English-language Facebook pages.

Yes, $630,000 taxpayer dollars. Has Facebook invented a 'dislike' button yet? Now would be the perfect time.

TheBlaze.com is reporting:

"The campaigns were successful garnering more than 2 million new followers for each page — up from 100,000 — and it also increased following on foreign-language pages.

But those within the bureau questioned this practice, according to the 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. Defenders of advertising point to the difficulty of finding a page on Facebook with a general search and the need to use ads to increase visibility,” the report stated.

For example, four of the bureau’s English-language Facebook pages are cited as having more than 2.5 million fans by mid-March of this year, but only 2 percent actually are engaged in activity on the pages.

“Engagement on each posting varied, and most of that interaction was in the form of ‘likes.’ Many postings had fewer than 100 comments or shares; the most popular ones had several hundred,” according to the report.

On Facebook, less engagement means less of a chance that any postings will make it onto users newsfeeds informing them of the bureau’s activities.

“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,” the report stated.

The other offices and bureaus of the State Department were found to have more than 150 social media accounts that are “wrestling with the issue of strategy and coordination” and having some overlap issues."

...

"The report recommends the IIP “direct its digital advertising to specific public diplomacy goals” that “find the right balance between youth and elite audience engagement.” It also states that a social media strategy should be adopted that actually drives engagement to accomplish the IIP’s goals.

It advocates that the public affairs office for the department work with IIP to coordinate regular meetings that would help get all parties working together without overlap.

The IG report stated that during its inspection the IIP stopped paying for advertising on Facebook as it evaluated its pages and program goals."

"I don't like the State Department in any sense of the word 'like.' I don't like it on Facebook, I don't like it with ham, I don't like it, Sam I am," Glenn said after seeing the report.

"Why would you — why, if you're the State Department, do you give a rat's anus about how many people give you the 'like' symbol, the thumbs‑up on Facebook," Pat added.

Stu noted that the 'likes' reached were artificial, which, if true, would mean the State Department spend over half a million dollars to expand their reach for a face value number that doesn't even increase their reach or influence across social media. Why made Stu ask the question, "Why do they care?"

"I really want to know?  Why?  Do presidents and prime ministers around the world go, 'Well, how many likes does the State Department have,'" Glenn asked jokingly.

According to the State Department they wanted to increase their pages 'likes' to increase outreach (or the amount of people their page reaches), but if the likes are artificial…they're not exactly reaching more people.

"It's not outreach when you're buying people," Stu noted.

"Are you Facebook liking anybody who has the State Department as part of their likes," Glenn joked.

And while Glenn and Stu are both right, the likes — if artificial — don't do anything to expand their reach, it could give off the perception that the public is more pleased with their performance than they really are. Odds are, after Benghazi, the State Department's approval rating isn't exactly off the charts, but they can give off the appearance of being more engaged with the American people than they really are.

While we're on the subject...you may want to dislike the State Department, but don't forget to LIKE Glenn & TheBlaze on Facebook!

Ezra Levant, founder of Rebel News, joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to describe the shocking footage he and his team captured of Canadian police harassing and even arresting Rebel News reporters during a protest in Montreal.

Video clips show officers making remarks about the "Jew" reporters and calling Rebel News "Jew media." Reporters are pulled out of crowds, handcuffed, slammed against vehicles and arrested. Some have been fined "thousands and thousands" of dollars "because they had cameras pointed at the police," said Levant.

Another video clip shows Canadian police demanding entrance to a rented Airbnb houseboat without a warrant.

"They the claimed it was an illegal gathering. It was just a B and B," Levant explained. "I told them to get a warrant. I went out there ... and they wouldn't let me back in.... It turned into a ten-hour standoff. They couldn't find a judge willing to give them a search warrant, so to punish us, they called the whole thing a crime scene. They actually wouldn't let any of my team off the boat unless they submitted to a personal search, which is illegal. And the craziest part, is that they arrested one of my guys, took him to jail, and they said this to us: We will hold him in jail until you let us search the Airbnb without a warrant."

Levant said nearly all Canadian media have ignored the insane attacks, warrantless searches and seizures, and the jailing of journalists, and warned Americans to take note and protect our First Amendment rights.

"If you do not protect your First Amendment, if you do not hold those hard-won freedoms, you will be like what we are," he said. "This is your future if you don't protect your First Amendment."

Watch the video below for more details:

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On Monday's episode of "The Glenn Beck Radio Program," Glenn opened up about the tragic death of his brother-in-law, Vincent Colonna Jr., who passed away unexpectedly on April 5. He also shared some of the important thoughts and insights he's learned through the grieving process.

"Last Monday, I was sitting in this chair ... the two-minute warning comes and Stu said to me, 'You ready for the show?'' ... And that's when my wife [Tania] came to the door of the studio here at our house and said, 'I...' and she held the phone up. And then she collapsed on the floor in tears," Glenn began. "Tania's brother had passed. To say this was a shock, is an understatement."

Glenn described his brother-in-law as having "a servant's spirit."

"He was always the guy who lit up the room. He was always the guy helping others. He would never stop, because he was always helping others," Glenn said of Vincent. "He was on the school board. He was a little league coach. He was the soccer coach. He helped build the church. He took care of the lawn of the church. He was constantly doing things, raising money for charity, working over here, helping to organize this. But he was never the guy in the spotlight. He was just the guy doing it, and you had no idea how much he had done because he never talked about it.

"We also didn't know how much mental anguish he was in because he never talked about it. And last Monday morning, after spending Easter with the family ... he killed himself. This is now the third family member of mine that has gone through this. And I keep seeing it play out over and over and over again, in exactly the same way."

Glenn described his thoughts as he, Tania, and her family struggled to come to grips with the devastating loss.

"I learned some really important things as I was watching this wake. I'm seeing these people from all walks of life ... the people that were there, were there because [Vince] made a difference in their life. He was a true servant. As I'm watching this, all that kept going through my mind was, 'by their fruits, ye shall know them.' The fruits of his labor were on display. He was a servant all the time. All the time ... he found a way to love everybody.

"There are two great commandments: Love God with all your heart and mind and soul. And love your neighbor. So those two great commandments boil down to: Love truth. Because that's what God is," Glenn said.

"Love thy neighbor. That's where joy comes from. The opposite of joy is despair, and that is the complete absence of hope ... and how do you find joy? You find joy by rooting yourself in the truth. Even if that's a truth you don't want to accept. Accept the truth," he added. "But we have to stop saying that there's nothing we can do. What are we going to do? Well, here's the first thing: stop living a lie."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:


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After imprisoning a pastor for refusing to follow COVID-19 restrictions, Canadian officials barricaded his church. And when some church members retaliated by tearing down part of the fence, Canadian Mounties arrived in riot gear.

Rebel News Founder Ezra Levant joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to give his insight on the crazy situation. He described the new, armed police presence surrounding GraceLife Church in Edmonton, Alberta, and how it not only encouraged hundreds of protesters to stand with the church in support but forced congregation members underground to worship as well.

What's happening is eerily similar to what occurs everyday in China, Levant says, and it must stop. Who would have thought this type of tyranny would be so close to home?

Watch the video below to hear Ezra describe the religious persecution taking place in Canada.


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Enough prayers? Why is supposed Catholic Joe Biden suggesting that Congress ought to stop praying for after someone commits acts of gun violence?

On Friday, Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray filled in for Glenn and discussed President Joe Biden's remarks during his speech on gun control. "Enough prayers. Time for some action," Biden said. Stu and Pat were surprised how dismissive Biden appeared to be on the idea of prayer.

Watch the clip to hear more. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.