U.S. government starts Arabic Twitter feed

Feb. 10, 2011 at 7:58 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department has launched an Arabic-language Twitter feed it calls the "Department of State Arabic Media Hub," officials said.

@USAbilAraby, which means "USA in Arabic," had 300 followers by Wednesday afternoon, The Washington Post said Thursday.

"The U.S. foreign ministry has recognized the historic role of social media in the Arab world and we want to be part of your conversations," said one of the early tweets.

The feed uses Modern Standard Arabic because it is the most common form of expression for news outlets, religious officials and the public, the Post said.

The report said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley is a frequent Twitter user known for his occasional humorous tweets. It said he previously warned Americans to avoid traveling to North Korea because the United States has a limited number of former presidents to rescue them.

Alec Ross, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's senior adviser for innovation, also is a frequent Twitter user.

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