Well, this is surreal – the new UK prime minister David Cameron doing an old-buddies routine with Facebook’s CEO, part of a UK exercise using websites to hear citizens’ suggestions for financial austerity measures…
— Zuckerberg: “You guys” x6.
— Cameron: “It was good to see you the other day … next time you’re in town, come and look us up.”
Does anyone else feel like they just eavesdropped on a private call? Either that, or a massive, insincere PR opp.
Her Majesty’s Treasury is calling the exercise The Spending Challenge. On Facebook, it involves linking from the Democracy UK profile, which gained popularity in May’s election campaign, out to government websites designed to take voters’ views. One involves a script visitors use to submit and rate austerity ideas, part of a government plan to reduce the UK’s deficit, which is 11 percent of GDP...
Example: “If we made certain drugs legal then the police would have a lot less to do and people would be safer.” Yeah, right.
Does any of this amount to real engagement? The UK’s budget was already made by the new government back in June. More likely, the administration is using these tools to bring people along on the austerity journey.
As for Facebook, it’s using the opportunity to put its case to advertisers. From the release: “Facebook is one of the most successful and cost-effective ways to bring ideas to life and deliver messages straight to your audience. This is relevant for anyone who wants to engage with the Facebook audience from government and public figures right through to global brands and local businesses…”
So now the UK government is a flagship Facebook advertising partner? Like I said, surreal.