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London is number one Twitter city says founder

LONDON - Twitter co- founder, Evan Williams, has said that the UK is the world's tweeting capital outstripping San Francisco and New York.

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In an interview on 'Newsnight' on BBC Two last night Williams told Kirsty Wark that Twitter had noticed an upsurge in UK use of the micro blogging service.

"We have definitely noticed the UK has exploded for us recently. London is our top Twitter using city as of today and the UK is second only to the US in numbers of twitter users," Williams said.

The 'Newsnight' presenter asked Williams whether he considered that Twitter creates a false sense of community.

"I don't think it is false necessarily. People use technologies to communicate and it is not any less real than using the telephone to communicate."

The interview also addressed the publicity that Twitter has generated on the back of its many celebrity users and Wark asked if it was simply a service to discover what famous people are doing.

"That is not what our data shows. Famous people are certainly popular on twitter, but there is a lot of friend communication that goes on Twitter which is mixed in with news, celebrity, business, you name it."

Williams also addressed how Twitter was increasingly verifying the accounts of many of its famous users, such as Demi Moore and his husband Ashton Kutcher, so that those who do follow them know that they are following the real thing.

"If you look at Demi Moore's real account, her user name is @mrskutcher, you'll see a verified account badge. We actually do verify known entities and we go through some manual work to verify them for users so there is less chance of impersonation. In Demi's case we talked to her personally.

"Demi and Ashton and a lot of Hollywood folks have taken to Twitter to connect with fans and have their own voice. It is not mediated through the normal outlets which has been their own representation for years.

"They can speak to people directly and interact with them and I think a lot of people find that very powerful."

In light of the Iranian election events in Iran where Twitter came to the fore as a way to report events and share information Wark asked Williams if he considered Twitter to be journalism.

He said that while there was a lot of commentary and much news-worthy tweeting, Twitter did not take the place of traditional journalism, which has thrived on Twitter as news organisations everywhere tweet their content.

"It's not necessarily journalism, certainly in the classic case, but it does enable people to report events as they're happening. As we just saw in Iran people on the streets [were] reporting what was going on.

"It was news-worthy content people were tweeting, there is a lot of commentary about what is going on, but it doesn't take the place of journalists of news because you still need analysis and you still need verification of this information, but it adds another layers to the information eco system."

BBC 'Newsnight' interview with Evan Williams.

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