Obama: 'I have never used Twitter'

President Barack Obama, the source of one of the world's most-followed Twitter account, said Monday he's never used the microblogging service.

During a town hall meeting with students in Shanghai, China, the president conceded he's never personally used Twitter, and encouraged more open internet access in China, where internet censorship runs rampant.

"First of all, let me say that I have never used Twitter," Obama told students in response to a question submitted online and conveyed by his ambassador, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R).

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"I noticed that young people -- they're very busy with all these electronics," the president joked. "My thumbs are too clumsy to type in things on the phone."

The "@BarackObama" Twitter feed has nearly 2.7 million followers, and his administered by his political arm, Organizing for America. His campaign was known for its use of social networking tools like Twitter, an ethos which has extended into the Obama administration, where the official "@WhiteHouse" feed has almost 1.5 million followers.

Obama said, though, that everyone should have access to Twitter and blogs and other web services, in a not-so-subtle critique of Chinese crackdowns on non-state media.

"I am a big believer in technology and I'm a big believer in openness when it comes to the flow of information," he said. "I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable."
 
"I'm a big supporter of non-censorship. This is part of the tradition of the United States that I discussed before, and I recognize that different countries have different traditions," he added. "So I'm a big supporter of not restricting Internet use, Internet access, other information technologies like Twitter."

Cross-posted to the Briefing Room.