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Coming in 2014: Facebook Across Government

Paul Sakuma/AP file photo

Every major federal agency should be using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube by mid-2014 if all goes according to plan, an official told Nextgov on Monday.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is the only major federal agency without a Facebook presence, plans to launch its page in the spring of 2014, Spokeswoman Holly Harrington said.

The agency must work through several legal and cybersecurity hurdles before launch, Harrington said.

The small independent agency tasked with regulating the safety of U.S. nuclear power plants and nuclear waste disposal was the last of 24 major federal agencies to join Twitter and YouTube in 2011. Agency officials said in 2012 that they hadn’t ruled out launching a Facebook page but were unsure if their small public affairs staff could effectively monitor and respond to Facebook comments.

The government presence on social media has grown significantly since 2009, with several agencies moving into newer sites such as LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest.

A division of the Veterans Affairs Department committed $3 million over the past two years to Facebook ads alerting veterans to benefits they may be eligible for but aren’t receiving. The Justice Department has announced plans to spend up to $550,000 to recruit top legal talent on LinkedIn.

NRC launched a Facebook URL in August as a placeholder that the agency has not populated yet, Harrington said. The page is not verified by the Federal Social Media Registry, which maintains a searchable catalog of official federal government social media profiles. 

This post has been corrected to note that an existing but unpopulated NRC Facebook page is a placeholder, which the agency plans to populate in the spring. A previous version quoted an NRC spokeswoman saying the page was unaffiliated with the NRC. It has also been updated to correctly state the amount of money the Justice Department plans to spend on LinkedIn recruiting.

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