State asks Twitter to put off maintenance

Is Twitter now a part of U.S. foreign policy? The Washington Post reports that:The State Department asked social networking site Twitter to delay scheduled maintenance earlier this week in order to avoid disrupting communications among tech-savvy Iranian citizens as they took to the streets to protest Friday's reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Is Twitter now a part of U.S. foreign policy? The Washington Post reports that:

The State Department asked social networking site Twitter to delay scheduled maintenance earlier this week in order to avoid disrupting communications among tech-savvy Iranian citizens as they took to the streets to protest Friday's reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

That sounds like a wow. Only maybe not. A few grafs down the Post also reports that the White House downplayed the request this way:

"This wasn't a directive from Secretary of State, but rather was a low-level contact from someone who often talks to Twitter staff."

But a senior State Department official told the Post that the contacts were quite official.

"One of the areas where people are able to get out the word is through Twitter," said a senior State Department official in a conversation with reporters, on condition of anonymity. "They announced they were going to shut down their system for maintenance and we asked them not to."

On the other hand, is this all being blown out of proportion by the Twitter-loving press?

"Twitter's impact inside Iran is zero," said Mehdi Yahyanejad, manager of a Farsi-language news site based in Los Angeles. "Here, there is lots of buzz, but once you look . . . you see most of it are Americans tweeting among themselves."

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