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Here’s What Happened When the Federal Reserve Went on Facebook

Fed Chair Janet Yellen Testifies Before The House Financial Services CommitteeFed Chair Janet Yellen Testifies Before The House Financial Services Committee
Janet Yellen, chair of the U.S. Federal ReserveAndrew Harrer — Bloomberg via Getty Images

It seems like a nice idea. The Federal Reserve, which controls U.S. monetary supply, decided to embrace social media with a brand new Facebook page. You can probably guess what happened next.

While the Facebook page itself is about as dull as you can expect—pictures of Fed Chair Janet Yellen, Federal Open Market Committee highlights, and so on—the reactions are not.

It didn’t take long for a gallery of trolls, critics, and crackpots to discover the new Facebook page, and to share their thoughts about the organization and what it does.

In response to a Fed post titled “Who owns the Federal Reserve system?” one wag jumped in to point out what he saw as a disconnect between the bankers and the rest of the world:

Fed FB screenshot

Meanwhile, the Fed’s inaugural post that its new social media presence attracted a humorous response that has so far notched up hundreds of “likes” :

Fed on FB

It didn’t take long for the Feds’ hard-core critics, who believe the organization should be abolished, to come out of the woodwork:

Fed FB

And no social media discussion about the Federal Reserve would be complete without conspiracy theories. Here is one Facebook user’s response to a post that shared remarks from Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer last Sunday:

Fed FB

For anyone with a passing familiarity with the Internet, such reactions cannot have been hard to anticipate, especially given the Fed’s role as a lightning rod for critics.

Still, it’s hard not to give the Fed’s media team credit for trying. According to a wonky press release (spotted by US News) announcing the new Facebook (FB) page, the goal of the social media project is “increasing the accessibility and availability of Federal Reserve Board news and educational content.”

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So will the Fed persevere in the face of the trolls? According to a spokesperson, the Facebook page is just one part of a larger strategic plan, and that it is achieving its goal of informing Americans about the Fed.

“In its first week, the page has reached more than 100,000 people and increased traffic to our web site. We are reading the comments and, from time to time, are responding by posting additional information to address common questions,” said the spokesperson.

Facebook is not the only social media tool the Fed uses to reach out. The organization has had a Twitter (TWTR) feed for four years, said the spokesperson, and is also active on YouTube (GOOGL), Flickr (YHOO), and LinkedIn (LNKD).