Fed Chief Bernanke Has How Many Friends On Facebook?
When your job is running the entire economy, navigating the stormy ups and downs of the stock market, inflation, unemployment, interest rates, etc., you need a lot of friends. Which would explain why Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke might have a Facebook page, where he can make all the friends he needs.
A Facebook page bearing the name of Benjamin Bernanke sure looked real enough.
It included an official photo of the bearded Fed chief, listed his activities as "maintaining economic data, giving speeches, economic analysis" and his interests as "reducing inflation and stimulating growth." Bernanke is listed as a married male with "moderate" political views who graduated from Harvard and currently serves as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.
The page listed all of Bernanke's 212 friends, who allegedly include Chelsea Clinton and the Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman (who died in 2006).
It's funny enough to think that Bernanke would even have a Facebook page, let alone list this as his favorite quote: "I guess I should warn you, if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said." (The quote is rightly attributed to his predecessor, Alan Greenspan.)
Would the Fed chief really be that tongue-in-cheek, on a public social networking site viewed by more than 80 million active users? And would the man who holds the reigns to our economy really be using "UncleBenBeard" as his AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) screen name, and "friending" everyone in sight? It just seems so, so... un-Fed like.
As you may have guessed, UncleBenBeard is not Ben Bernanke the Federal Reserve chairman, we were relieved to learn. The Facebook page is a fake. And the Fed, according to Bernanke spokeswoman Michelle Smith, contacted Facebook to remove the phony page.
"I hear there are actually several Ben Bernanke pages -- none of them are legitimate," Smith said in an email. (We actually counted seven bogus Ben Bernanke Facebook pages, not including the handful of Ben Bernanke fan pages.)
Facebook spokesman Matt Hicks tells us Facebook did, indeed, remove the "Ben Bernanke profiles after investigating them" based on the complaint by the Fed.
Whether they thought it was real or not, several folks left comments on the phony Bernanke page we viewed. Someone identified as a Catholic University student writes, "ben, who's your favorite money honey?" Our favorite comment came from another Facebook member who wrote, "BEN can u message me if u are going to hike rates in september pls?"
Yeah, Ben -- could you please be a doll and let us know?
Mary Ann Akers
July 10, 2008; 10:00 PM ET
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