Saudi Embassy launches Twitter account

The Saudi Arabian Embassy in the United States has launched its own Twitter account, allowing users to follow the latest news and announcements directly from country leaders.

Saudi Arabia joins the group of nations like the United Arab Emirates and the UK to have its US embassy joining the micro-blogging social network site. The embassy made its first post on March 8 but didn’t announce its presence until this afternoon.

Posts so far mention a visit to Saudi Arabia from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Google’s CEO talking about the country’s prospects, and a note that Saudi Arabia will be shutting off power for an hour on March 27 in support of the “Earth Hour” initiative.

Getting government officials involved in channels like this is overall a positive thing, allowing them to personally connect with their constituents. However, it can also lead to problems.

Last month, the Twitter account of Israel’s ambassador, Ron Prosor, to Britain posted a joke in bad taste about recent tension between Israel and Dubai. Commenting on a tennis tournament in Dubai where an Israeli player won, Prosor wrote, “You heard it here first: Israeli tennis player carries out hit on #Dubai.” Hours before that, Israel officials were being question about any involvement with an assassination attempt in Dubai.