FBI expands use of social media

Bureau seeks to connect, share information with users

The FBI is looking for fans on Facebook and followers on Twitter to expand its ability to share information with millions of social media users.

The social media programs supplement other information technology tools the bureau has deployed in recent years to make it easier for people to submit tips and get news from the FBI, bureau officials said May 15. In addition to a Facebook page and tweets sent via Twitter, the bureau also has a YouTube page and is testing the usefulness of the virtual world Second Life.

Disseminating information on such sites about fugitives, missing children, threats and scams is an extension of the bureau’s longstanding effort to enlist support and help from the public, said John Miller, head of public affairs at the FBI.

“To reach out to the public, we need to be where people are, and we know tens of millions of people spend their time in social media sites," Miller said.

FBI officials also said the widgets the bureau has released have been popular, and they plan to release new ones in the coming weeks. In addition, more than 350,000 people in 80 countries have downloaded a privately designed “Most Wanted” application for iPhones and iPod Touches that is based on an FBI widget.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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