Recently the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System — let’s call them the Fed — decided it would be a good idea to have a Facebook page. You know . . . Facebook, that aging social media site where people post selfies and pictures of babies and weddings and political memes that don’t change anyone’s mind. Yes, that Facebook.
So why did the Fed decide it needed a Facebook page? It’s not entirely clear. After all, the Fed has functioned for decades without having much of a public face. It’s the grey, boring group behind currency and interest rate decisions, all of which are made by unelected people who are completely unknown to 99.99% of us. So why Facebook? Who knows? Maybe the Fed, like other aging Facebookers, just wanted to get a little attention.
You can see the Fed’s Facebook page here. It’s a pretty hilarious page, actually, because the Fed decided to allow people to comment, and every post by the Fed features venomous comments from people who think the Fed has ruined American money, manipulated our currency, and should be audited to determine its fundamental solvency. The Fed isn’t responding to the comments, so a bland post about one of the Fed’s “key functions” provokes an avalanche of over-the-top haymakers from the Fed haters. It’s probably the most tonally disproportionate Facebook page in history, and even the American Banker, which is normally pretty sympathetic to the Fed, has declared the Fed’s Facebook page a full-fledged disaster.
It’s hard to imagine that a federal entity would think it’s wise to have a Facebook page, and it make you wonder how much it costs the Fed (that is, we taxpayers) to pay the schlub who writes the puff pieces that then get ripped to shreds by internet trolls who are happy to have a new target for their venom. I can’t believe anybody at the Fed, or any other federal agency, honestly believes that people are going to learn about the agency and what they do by going to Facebook, as opposed to the agency’s own website or, God forbid, an actual book. How many people go to Facebook expecting to get the unvarnished truth? Does anyone?
Maybe there’s a positive in this catastrophic combination of faceless but powerful government entity and social media: maybe the Fed will decide not to proceed with its impending dips into Tumblr, Ello, Hyper, Shots, and Bebo.