Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Twitter Angling For More International Users

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, December 6 2013

Twitter on any phone, even the 'dumb' ones (Flickr/Angga Satriya)

Twitter is following Facebook and Google's lead in creating an avenue for feature or "dumb" phone users to access their service, even without an Internet connection. They have partnered with the Singapore-based company U2opia Mobile, Reuters reports.

Chief executive and co-founder of U2opia Mobile, Sumesh Menon, told Reuters that they will launch the Twitter service next year.

U2opia Mobile already helps more than 11 million people access Facebook and Google Talk through their Fonetwish service without using data.

This is a video introduction showing users how to access Facebook with Fonetwish. The Twitter service will presumably work similarly.

Twitter has kicked their international strategy into high gear this year. They have already partnered with telecommunication companies in countries like Pakistan to allow users to tweet without using up data, which can be prohibitively expensive for many.

In terms of world dominance, Facebook is still miles ahead of Twitter. On the other hand, a simple text-based interface—like that provided by U2opia—is perfect for Twitter.

Fonetwish uses Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) which does not allow for the sharing of photos or videos.

"USSD as a vehicle for Twitter is almost hand in glove because Twitter has by design a character limit, it's a very text-driven social network," Menon told Reuters.

Although Twitter is dominated by U.S.-based users, the ratio of Twitter users to Internet users in the United States is much lower than in other countries.

A study by PeerReach found that Saudi Arabia actually has the highest Twitter-users to Internet-users ratio: a whopping 32 percent. Indonesia, Spain, Venezuela, Argentina, the U.K. and the Netherlands all have higher percentages of Twitter-users than the United States.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network and the UN Foundation for their generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

For a round-up of our weekly stories, subscribe to the WeGov mailing list.

News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

First POST: Outgassing

How Beijing is throttling expressions of solidarity with the Hong Kong democracy protests; is the DCCC going overboard with its online fundraising tactics?; SumOfUs's innovative new engagement metric; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

With Vision of Internet Magna Carta, Web We Want Campaign Aims To Go Beyond Protest Mode

On Saturday, Tim Berners-Lee reiterated his call for an Internet Magna Carta to ensure the independence and openness of the World Wide Web and protection of user privacy. His remarks were part of the opening of the Web We Want Festival at the Southbank Centre in London, which the Web We Want campaign envisioned as only the start of a year long international process underlying his call to formulate concrete visions for the open web of the future, going beyond protests and the usual advocacy groups. GO

First POST: Lifestyles

Google's CEO on "work-life balance"; how CloudFlare just doubled the size of the encrypted web; Dems like Twitter; Reps like Pinterest; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Showdown

How demonstrators in Hong Kong are using mobile tech to route around government control; will the news penetrate mainland China?; dueling spin from Dems and Reps on which party's tech efforts will matter more in November; and much, much more. GO

friday >

Pirate MEP Crowdsources Internet Policy Questions For Designated EU Commissioners

While the Pirate Party within Germany was facing internal disputes over the last week, the German Pirate Party member in the European Parliament, Julia Reda, is seeking to make the European Commission appointment process more transparent by crowdsourcing questions for the designated Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society and the designated Vice President for the Digital Single Market. GO

First POST: Dogfood

What ethical social networking might look like; can the iPhone promise more privacy?; how Obama did on transparency; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Sucks

How the FCC can't communicate; tech is getting more political; Facebook might see a lawsuit for its mood manipulation experiment; and much, much more. GO

More