FBI goes social networking on Youtube, twitter and facebook
Over the past few years we’ve rolled out a number of new web initiatives—including an e-mail alert service, syndicated news feeds, and a series of podcasts and widgets—that make it easier for you to help us track down wanted fugitives and missing kids, to submit tips on terrorism and crime, and to get our latest news and information.
Today, we’re announcing the launch of our latest suite of tools. We’ve recently set up shop in several social media websites, including:
- , where you can follow our news, check out our photos and videos, and become a “fan” of the FBI;
- , where you can watch our videos and connect back to our main website for job postings and other content; and
- , where you can receive our tweets on breaking news and other useful information.
“To reach out to the public, we need to be where people are—and we know tens of millions of people spend their time in social media sites," says John Miller, head of FBI Public Affairs. "Adding our fugitives, missing kids, threat and scam warnings, and other information into these sites is an extension of what we’ve done for decades—enlisting the help and support of concerned citizens around the globe to keep communities safer.”
We are moving forward on other social media fronts as well.
More widgets. Our widgets have been enormously popular, and we plan to build more in the coming weeks. “Our first four widgets alone have brought more than 2.5 million people to our website,” points out Jonathan Cox, a management analyst in the Office of Public Affairs who spearheaded their development. “And our latest Most Wanted widget averages more than a thousand views a day.” The new high-end widget was built using Flash, XML, and ActionScript and can be shared virally through social media websites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Blogger, says Michael Litchfield, the web developer who built it for the FBI. “I was excited to work on it and thought it was a great way to market the Bureau to a new generation.” Visit our widgets page.
… Fugitives at your fingertips. A company called NIC—founded by an ex-law enforcement officer—has built a free “Most Wanted” iPhone and iPod Touch application based on our newest widget and fueled by our RSS feeds. More than 350,000 people in 80 countries worldwide have already downloaded the app since it debuted in February. “Now, NIC is building a second-generation version that will use geo-location information to enable you to easily submit tips to your local FBI office,” says Harry Herington, Chairman of the Board and CEO of NIC. It will include FBI Twitter feeds and connections to our Facebook and YouTube sites. NIC is also developing an iPhone application focused specifically on missing kids that will include Amber Alerts, pictures, and potentially live data to help law enforcement and the families of missing children.
… Virtual billboards and kiosks. We’re doing pilot tests in Second Life—a free 3-D world inhabited by millions of people worldwide—for virtual billboards and kiosks that show the mugs of our Ten Most Wanted fugitives and connect people to FBI jobs, our Internet Crime Complaint Center, and the wanted posters of cyber criminals.