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BAGHDAD – The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is looking for Iraqi friends on Facebook.

The embassy launched the page Thursday with the aim of reaching out to Iraqis who want to learn more about American culture and society, the latest step by the State Department to boost interest in Iraq's burgeoning online culture and promote Web entrepreneurship.

The State Department has organized a number of high-profile visits to Iraq in recent months by top executives from Google, Twitter, AT&T and others. Recently, the embassy assisted in setting up a YouTube channel for the Iraqi government.

The Facebook page launch came the same day U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a speech about Internet freedom and its place in U.S. foreign policy. The embassy rolled out the page after a two-month test run on Facebook, said Philip Frayne, an embassy spokesman in Baghdad.

"We didn't get 2 million fans," he said. "The natural audience for embassy Facebook pages is not enormous."

But by late Thursday, the page had more than 800 fans — nearly matching the number of Facebook fans of the U.S. Embassy in London.

More than 170 U.S. diplomatic missions around the world have Facebook pages, according to the State Department.

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