To the 2,676,001 Twitter users following Barack Obama's stream of presidential status updates
: you've been had.
In a live-streamed meeting between Obama and Chinese students during a stop on the President's whirlwind tour of Asia, one daring student posed a question pertaining to China's banning of Twitter in July: "Do you know about the great firewall and should we be able to use Twitter?" President Obama replied, "I have never used Twitter
but I'm an advocate of technology and not restricting Internet access."
That he is an advocate of technology is no understatement, given that this administration has frequently updated accounts on every important social network imaginable. However, it does come as some surprise (though, perhaps it shouldn't) that the @BarackObama "Verified Account" on Twitter is actually updated by a member of the President's staff. Verified Account
is a beta feature being tested on Twitter explicitly for the purpose of informing users as to the authenticity of certain accounts.
According to Twitter:With this feature, you can easily see which accounts we know are 'real' and authentic. That means we've been in contact with the person or entity the account is representing and verified that it is approved. (This does not mean we have verified who, exactly, is writing the tweets.)
In light of the recent news about Obama's account and the minor shock it may have sparked amongst the President's followers, Twitter may do well to make a distinction between personally-updated Verified Accounts and those updated by a representative of the actual person.
Everything else aside, Facebook cashed in on the President's trip in a big way, featuring a live feed of the meeting between Obama and the students directly on the White House Facebook page. No word yet on China's response to Obama's disapproval of the country's restriction on online access.