Top Ten US Embassy Facebook Pages – Worldwide

The Office of Innovation within the Office of the Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (“R”), has put together a site that tracks the number of Facebook fans (1,016,643) for all the 191 pages that the State Department maintains domestically and overseas (h/t to

The Dashboard gives an overall view by date, trend (going up), top gainers (eJournal USA with +509 fans gained on 9/11), bottom 5 losers and top pages (eJournal USA with 180,203 fans, followed by US Embassy Jakarta with 148,429 fans).

We have extracted the data for the top ten Facebook pages of US embassy/related post overseas according to number of fans below.  Regional acronyms: EAP (East Asia Pacific), WHA (Western Hemisphere), SCA (South and Central Asia), NEA (Near East Asia, includes North Africa and Middle East) and AF (Sub-Saharan Africa). US Embassy Macedonia with 4,589 fans is the top European post but none of the EUR posts made it to the top ten pages.

City, Country
# Fans
U.S. Embassy – Jakarta, Indonesia 
US Consulate General Surabaya 
Buenos Aires               
Centro de Recursos Informativos – Embajada de EE.UU. en Buenos Aires      
Paraguay, Asuncion 
Embajada de los Estados Unidos en Paraguay 
La Paz                                     
Embajada de Estados Unidos en La Paz 
Sri Lanka, Colombo            
U.S. Embassy Colombo, Sri Lanka 
South Africa, Pretoria                                    
United States Mission to South Africa 
Egypt, Cairo                            
Study USA-Egypt
Ecuador, Guayaquil                    
Consulado General de los Estados Unidos en Guayaquil 
U.S. Embassy, Manila Philippines 

Click here to see the links to all 191 pages with corresponding data. Given the normally smaller staffing at consulates compared to embassies, it is perhaps striking that Surabaya and Guayaquil’s are in the top list with over 10,000 fans (compared to say larger posts, like London, Paris, or Mexico City, all in the low thousands and have yet to break the 5,000 mark).

An about page has just been added to the site after I posted this blog entry. See below:

This project is a proof of concept (beta) which collects the total fan numbers for State Department Facebook fan pages. Since this is a beta, some of the numbers may be off and there may be gaps in the data.

This only collects Facebook fan numbers and does not pull any information on participation rates, sentiment, personal participant details, or any other data. As such, it is a very high level view of the activity taking place on these pages and is, at best, a crude measurement of how successful these pages are.

How this works:
The system queries Facebook’s open graph once a day and gets the fan totals at that moment. Since you need authentication to pull more specific information (comment rates, likes, etc) the dashboard just pulls public data.

Amb Blog: The Price of Democracy

rotton appleImage by nome joy via FlickrThis one excerpted from the September 11 blog post of David Huebner, the US Ambassador to New Zealand:

It is an abomination to suggest that one honors the memory of those killed on September 11, 2001 by burning holy books in the street. Religious fanaticism is no way to mourn the victims of religious fanaticism.

We Americans do not believe in outlawing or preventing free expression, no matter how foolish, craven, hateful, or offensive that speech might be.  We suppress expression that sexually exploits children or directly promotes physical violence, but we go no farther.

We do not believe that expression should be suppressed just because someone offended by the expression might commit retaliatory violence.  To accept potential retaliation as a rationale for suppression would gut the most deeply held of our American civic values.

So, we live with the bad apples and what crawls out of them. It’s the price of democracy.  They embarrass us.  They anger us.  They worry us.  But they don’t represent us.

It’s unfortunate that in our interconnected world the bad apples, however unrepresentative they may be, can easily command global attention.  Anyone can tweet, blog, or set up a website on the internet.  And traditional media outlets are too often attracted to the salacious or extreme.
As I write this, it appears that the bookburners are having second thoughts.  Perhaps they’ve spent a few hours reading their Bibles or the Constitution.  Or perhaps they think that they can better milk their 15 minutes of disruptive fame by stretching things out past the 11th.  It doesn’t really matter.  They don’t speak for the rest of us.  Very few of us are like them.  And everybody knows that.

Continue reading, Unfortunately in our society, whoever shouts the loudest is going to get the most air time.

US Embassy Oman: Arabic Language Proficiency

An all too familiar report on Arabic proficiency and staffing gap. This one excerpted from the newly released OIG report on the US Embassy in Oman:

None of the section’s officers has reached a level of language competence that allows them to discuss embassy business in Arabic at a professional level. Government officials and educated interlocutors usually speak English, but the lack of Arabic proficiency among political and economic officers limits outreach beyond society’s elite. One employee remarked that the lack of language ability insulates American officers from Omani culture. This is to be expected in a section staffed primarily by ELOs, who cannot receive the full two years of Arabic language training needed to establish proficiency in the language. The embassy is delaying the arrival of one of the new ELOs to allow for one full year of Arabic language training.
Public diplomacy outreach in Oman is often conducted in English, in whole or in part. The current assistant public affairs officer (PAO) did not complete the one year of training required for his position and is on a language waiver. The PAO routinely uses Arabic in conversation and in informal remarks with other Omani audiences. When possible, officers speak Arabic at least as an ice-breaker. For example, the PAO speaks Arabic to open each year’s orientation for teenage exchange students and their parents. As the embassy actively seeks opportunities to reach out to grassroots and non-elite civil society organizations where interlocutors less commonly speak fluent English, it would significantly enhance the embassy’s outreach success if officers were trained in Arabic to the conversational level. The Department-wide deficit of public diplomacy cone officers, along with staffing requirements in Iraq and the growth at Middle Eastern posts, make this a global issue outside the scope of this inspection.

OIG Report No. ISP-I-10-71A – Inspection of Embassy Muscat, Oman – August 2010



DMW: Mental Health Treatment Still a Security Clearance Issue at State Department

We have recently posted an email from HRC to State Department employees on seeking help for mental health issues here.

The day after its release, the Concerned Foreign Service Officers issued the following statement (item below from CFSO volunteer blog, Dead Men Working):

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Yesterday, presumably in response to a series of articles in the September issue of the Foreign Service Journal, Secretary of State Clinton issued an internal statement urging employees needing mental health treatment to get it, stating quite clearly that no Foreign Service Officer had ever lost a security clearance due to having sought mental health treatment. Concerned Foreign Service Officers wants to set the record straight.

Executive Order 12968 provides guidelines for the granting or revocation of a clearance. There are only thirteen criteria under which a security clearance can be revoked, and “seeking mental health treatment” is not one of them. Therefore, it is obvious that no official record would provide “seeking mental health treatment” as the justification for a revocation. Instead, the clearance would have been revoked under a guideline such as “mental disorders” or “personal conduct” and the record would reflect that fact. DS revocation letters are short, and unlike those of other agencies, rarely provide details. But there have been well-documented cases where the unmentioned “cause for concern” under the official guideline was the simple act of seeking mental health treatment and the biased reaction to it by DS adjudicators.

Concerned Foreign Service Officers believes that people who need mental health treatment or counseling should get it. But as long as DS continues to adjudicate security clearances without a real whole-person review, without verification of the facts, and without any real oversight, they do, and will continue to revoke security clearances of employees who obtain mental health treatment.

Active links added above. 

Related post:

Clinton issues note on mental health; seeking help a sign of maturity and professionalism | Sept 10