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Oklahoma state employees' Facebook visits prompt officials concern

by Randy Ellis Modified: December 1, 2013 at 10:00 pm •  Published: December 1, 2013

State employees really, really like Facebook.

They like Twitter and YouTube, too.

We know because little brother is watching.

Oklahoma's Cyber Command Security Operations Center's main job is to protect the state's computer system from cyber attacks, but security personnel track website visits by employees on the state computer network, as well.

Because they do this, they are able to report that computers on the state network made 2,008,092 page visits to Facebook from July through September this year.

Facebook's numbers are inflated, somewhat, because its widgets are embedded on many other websites, so it gets page view counts when people visit those other sites, as well, security officials said.

Still, the number of recorded Facebook page views is nearly double the 1,074,684 page views made to its closest competitor, Google.

Twitter and YouTube finished fifth and eighth on the top 10 list of most visited sites, with 272,661 and 225,228 page views, respectively.

In the interest of full disclosure, NewsOK, a website corporately tied to The Oklahoman, came in ninth on the top 10 list, with 218,775 page visits by state employees, the largest number of page views to any state news organization.

The obsession some state employees have with social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter has some state lawmakers concerned.

“It's astronomical,” state Rep. David Derby, R-Owasso, said of the more than 2 million Facebook page views by state employees over a three-month time. “It's just a lot of wasted time and energy and money ... State employees on Facebook on company time is never a good thing.”

Derby clarified that in today's world, where millions of people communicate through social media, it is sometimes appropriate for people like lawmakers and some members of the governor's staff to communicate with constituents through social media, but noted the number of page views would indicate abuse.

State Rep. Mike Turner, R-Edmond, and state Sen. David Holt, R-Bethany, voiced similar concerns.

“It's not necessarily shocking, but it's certainly significant,” Holt said.

Turner noted some of the Facebook visits likely are fairly innocuous, like visiting a Facebook page on an employee's lunch hour, but said, “two million hits is probably 1.5 million too many.”

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by Randy Ellis
Investigative Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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