Hmm, this is interesting! Last week, the U.S. Department of State launched an Arabic Twitter feed, @USAbilAraby. This account features declarations of assent and support for various democratic movements in the Arabic world, and appears to more or less mirror the contents of the State Department's official feed, in English. Now, the State Department has rolled out another foreign-language Twitter account. This one's in Farsi, the official language of Iran.
What's going on? CNN reports that in the inaugural tweet on the new Farsi feed, the State Department says that it "recognizes historic role of social media among Iranians. We want to join in your conversations." So that's all well and good. But as far as the Wire can tell, the State Department only maintains Twitter accounts in English, Arabic, and Farsi. There's no equivalent Twitter account in, say, Spanish, or Japanese, or Swahili.
Are these forthcoming, maybe? A whole fleet of multi-lingual State Department Twitter-siblings, just waiting to be rolled out? Or is the State Department only adding new Twitter accounts on the basis of which regions seem the most unstable, and ripe for populist revolution? If that's the case, people in Toulouse better hope the State Department doesn't debut @USAenFrancais next week. It could bode ill for someone.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.