US embassy seeks Iraqi fans on Facebook

BAGHDAD - In what could be seen as a new front in cyber diplomacy or a naive gesture, depending on your point of view, the US embassy in Baghdad launched a Facebook page on Thursday to “reach out to Iraqis.”

By (AFP)

Published: Sat 23 Jan 2010, 1:27 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:41 AM

The page opened with a video posting by ambassador Christopher Hill, who spoke of his high hopes for the forum where “fans” will be encouraged to follow embassy news and learn more about American culture and society.

“This is something new we are trying,” said Hill, who delivered his opening address from a sofa where he sat dressed casually in a blue cardigan and white shirt.

“We’d like to be able to reach out a little better to the Iraqi people, especially young people who know about Facebook and know how it all works.”

A statement announcing the page launch promised fans would receive a news feed highlighting news and events of interest, photo albums, as well as audio and video clips.

An “English-language corner” will also be updated every week with American expressions and “useful grammar and vocabulary hints,” it said.

In the one minute and 13 second long video, Hill said the face of America was going to be changing in Iraq with soldiers being replaced by outreach programmes and cultural exchanges.

“There’s gonna be less military, more civilians,” he said, alluding to a withdrawal of US combat troops by August 31 and of all other soldiers by the end of 2011.

“So, this is our way of reaching out to people, understanding what Iraqi problems are, what Iraqi concerns are and we hope you all will be able to reach out to us a little better,” he added, urging people to become fans of the page.

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