Central banks wary of social media

Central banks wary of social media

Living up to their stuffy reputations, around two thirds of central banks do not operate any social media accounts, while many that do take a conservative approach to Twitter and Facebook.

Of 181 banks investigated for a Central Banking Publications study, just 60 use Facebook or Twitter, with the latter proving the more popular.

The most prolific tweeter is the Banque de France, with more than 6000 tweets, followed by the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis on around 5000 and the Central Bank of Ecuador on 4500-odd.

The Bank of Mexico leads the way on the followers front, with more than 107,000, with the Central Bank of Colombia on 63,000 and the Federal Reserve 60,000. At the other end of the spectrum, the National Bank of Georgia has struggled to entice fans, garnering just 44 followers, fewer than it follows.

With central banks notorious for their stodgy prose - Fedspeak is described on Wikipedia as "a turgid dialect of English" used by Federal Reserve Board chairmen in making intentionally wordy, vague, and ambiguous statements - tweets tend towards the bland.

However, controversy can sometimes erupt. In 2011, the Banque de France tweeted remarks made by its governor, Christian Noyer, who condemned the UK for having "a bigger deficit, as much debt, more inflation [and] weaker growth" than France.

International commentators and casual tweeters rushed to debate the point and to goad the central bank, "demonstrating the potentially negative feedback loops between the central bank and the populace," says the report.

It's not all doom though, last year some banks demonstrated a sense of romance and humour, with the Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia Feds all getting involved with a #FedValentines hashtag game.

Central Banking Publications says that one difficulty in conducting the study was determining the authenticity of accounts. The problem of parodies extends to individuals as well, which the Central Bank of Nigeria has found to its discomfort.

Earlier this this year, the Nigerian central bank forced the closure of more than 100 social networking accounts impersonating its governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. A central bank spokesperson accused the impersonators of attempting to "tarnish and malign" Sanusi and cause "disaffection in the country".

Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 15 May, 2013, 16:40Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

The difficulty in "determining the authenticity of accounts" is indeed becoming a major hurdle. Twitter seems to allocate available handles with no ID verification. Not sure whether it's by mutual consent or it's an extreme reflection of Twitter's laissez-faire approach, but @jackdorsey does not belong to Jack Dorsey! 


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