US Department of State and Twitter

QUESTION: Can you talk about the State Department’s use of technology and websites like Twitter and Facebook to try and get information and any conversations that you might have had with Twitter?

MR. KELLY: I think – as I was following this – these developments over the weekend, it was – I mean, I – of course, I use email and I use the internet, but I began to recognize the importance of new social media as a vital tool for citizens’ empowerment and as a way for people to get their messages out. And it was very clear to me that these kinds of social media played a very important role in democracy, spreading the word about what was going on.

QUESTION: Yeah. No, I – that’s – I’m wondering about the State Department, in particular, any discussions that you’re having with networking sites about maintaining the technology, about how the State Department as an institution is monitoring these type of sites to gain information about what’s going on.

MR. KELLY: Yeah, we’re monitoring – I mean, we’re monitoring many different media, including some of these sites. And we’ve had, of course, talks with Twitter as well.

QUESTION: What’s the nature of those talks?

MR. KELLY: I don’t want to go into the detail of the nature of those talks right now.

QUESTION: Well, I mean, but by not providing any information on the nature of the talks, it indicates that you have some role in kind of providing messages to Twitter, messages to Iranians.

MR. KELLY: No. No, we’re not —


MR. KELLY: I don’t want to suggest that —

QUESTION: No, that’s great. If you could explain a little bit more –

MR. KELLY: — that we’re somehow interfering in – with Twitter. But we do, of course, consult with them.

QUESTION: Well, what are you consulting with them about, if you’re not consulting with them on how to provide messages?

MR. KELLY: Well, we’re consulting with them. I know the Secretary has a – wants a big push for eDiplomacy in using these new social media to develop horizontally communities. And of course, Twitter is another one of those social media.

QUESTION: Are you saying that – I think the presumption in Elise’s question or the assumption is that you’ve been in touch with them about the situation in Iran. Is that not the case? You’re just – it’s more broad – it’s broader?

MR. KELLY: That’s – yeah, in a broad sense.

QUESTION: So you haven’t been in touch with them on the situation in Iran?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think we’ve been in touch with them on a number of very general issues.