Barack Obama on Twitter and Chinese internet censorship

Barack Obama answered questions on internet censorship and Twitter in his (live-streamed) talk to Chinese students yesterday:

ReadWriteWeb was shocked to learn that Obama has ‘never used Twitter.’ It turns out that someone else in his office is responsible for the 2.6 million followers… “But I’m an advocate of technology and not restricting internet access,” Obama said.

Meanwhile, the UK nationals have picked up his comments on internet censorship. The Times, for example:

Mr Obama was asked whether he knew of the ‘Great Firewall’ – the popular term for the blocks that China’s Government imposes on the internet to keep out content its censors deem inappropriate for its citizens. Mr Obama said: “I have always been a strong supporter of open internet use. I am a big supporter of non-censorship. I recognise that different countries have different traditions.”

It was the answer in which he came the closest to subtle criticism of his hosts, saying he believed the freedom to reprove a country’s leaders helped to strengthen democracy. “I should be honest, there are times when I wish information didn’t flow so freely, then I wouldn’t have to listen to people criticise me all the time. People naturally when in positions of power think ‘How could that person say that of me? That’s irresponsible’.”

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