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London is Twitter capital of the world, says CEO

Evan Williams calls Archbishop 'silly'

The co-founder and chief executive of Twitter says that London is the top Twitter city in the world, with the UK second to the US in Twitter use in terms of user numbers.

In his first British television interview about the social networking phenomenon on the BBC's Newsnight programme, Evan Williams said that use of the social networking site has "exploded" in the UK with London being the top Twitter using city.

Evan Williams Twitter CEO

Williams denied that Twitter creates a false sense of community?

"It's not false, it allows people to communicate and is no less false than using the phone," he told Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark.

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Wark asked the Twitter chief whether Twitter is a form of journalism?

Williams replied: "It's not necessarily journalism - certainly not in the classic case. But it does enable people to report news and events as they are happening. And often from the ground.

"As we just saw in Iran, people on the streets reporting what was going on. It was news-worthy content that people were tweeting. There's also a lot of commentary about what is going on.

"But it doesn't take the place of journalists or new because you still need analysis, you still need verification of this information - but it adds another layer to the information ecosystem"

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Asked whether Twitter delayed technical work on the site to keep the site going Williams

"We did delay some technical work. That was something we did working with our network provider.

"And we had scheduled maintenance that would have been during the middle of the night and off-peak hours for us but it would have been during a very key time in Iran.

"We ended up putting that off by a day so that it was it was more in the middle of the night there."

Wark asked if Twitter did this of its own volition or whether it was asked to do so by the US government.

There were many people who asked us to do that, including some one from the State Department. But that's not why we did it. We did it because we thought it was best thing for supporting the information flow there at a crucial time there.

"And that's kind of what we're about, supporting the open exchange of information, so it seemed like the best thing to do."

Williams wasn't aware criticism by Archbishop Vincent Nichols, head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, that tools like Twitter de-humanised a very important part of our social life.

"It's kinda silly," he said. "Anyone who says that isn't really familiar with the service because it's about humans connecting with each other. And often in ways that other ways couldn't have. It's the opposite of de-humanising."

Is Twitter just a fad, asked Wark.

Williams replied: "The only reason Twitter could be a fad is if someone else comes along and does it better."

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