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FBI launches first Spanish social media account in Houston

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The FBI field office in Houston has launched the Bureau’s first Spanish-language social media account, @miFBIHouston, on Twitter in an effort to connect with the city’s Latino population.

“In order for the FBI to accomplish its mission, which is to protect the American people, we have to identify and implement effective ways to communicate with the diverse communities we serve,” said Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner of the FBI Houston Field Office. “That includes the rapidly growing Hispanic community, which in the Houston metropolitan area represents over 36 percent of the population.”

Federal agencies are increasingly turning to social media to engage the public. TSA runs a popular Instagram account that has over 450,000 followers where the agency highlights unusual checkpoint catches at the nation’s airports.  NASA was a finalist for a Shorty Award, an award given to outstanding social media influencers, for their scientific storytelling and visuals of the universe across all social platforms.

FBI Houston is unique among government agencies in that it will run an account exclusively in Spanish.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the Spanish language is the second most spoken language in the United States, and the Latino population is the largest and fastest growing minority in the country.

Communication with the Spanish speaking community is a priority for law enforcement agencies across the country because it increases community and officer safety.

A study by the Pew Research Center found that eight-in-ten Latinos who are online use at least one of five social media sites – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter.

“In the global environment we live in, social media is the preferred method of communication for a large number of our population, both young and old. Social media has become a principal source for news and information,” added SAC Turner. “It makes perfect sense for us to expand our use of social media to engage the public we serve, including the Spanish-speaking social media users.”

The public can expect to see wanted fugitives’ photos, arrest information, safety tips and community outreach efforts.

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