Taking a step towards opening its Australia office, social media giant, Twitter is reported to have recruited former Google Australia display advertising head, Karen Stocks as local country head. The move has a strong commercial motive but will also help closer engagement with authorities.
The Australian reported on Monday that Twitter's Australian headquarters will open this week as part of a push to further integrate the social media platform into the local advertising market.
Speculation about Twitter's imminent entry into Australia has been making news for some time now. Earlier in Jan 2013, Sydney Morning Herald had reported that Twitter was tipped to "open its first Australian corporate office as part of plans to help combat cyber-bullying and deepen ties with the federal and state governments."
The newspaper said that officials had been lobbying with Twitter to "launch a full-time presence in Australia and make it easier for police officers to engage with the company."
Although Twitter did not immediately confirm the move, the Herald, quoted opposition leader Julie Bishop saying she understood the move (Twitter office in Australia) was "imminent".
The latest report by The Australian says that the focus of the company is to build its advertising business in Australia and other markets ahead of a rumoured public offering.
In Australia, like in other markets, Twitter has been offering an advertising range known as "promoted products". Businesses pay to have promoted tweets pushed into users' timelines, promoted accounts included in "who to follow" recommendations and "promoted trends" appearing on the popular topics list. Twitter said the National Australia Bank and Qantas were among the companies that used the platform for marketing.
Although, reports suggest that by setting up office in Australia has a strong commercial motive, law enforcement authorities will also be pleased. The local office is likely to ease co-operation bottlenecks on issues such as cyber-bullying and online abuse as well as enhancing relationships with all levels of government.
Australians have keenly embraced Twitter over the past six years and are currently sending about 1.4 million tweets per day.
However, there have also been a series of high-profile cases of cyber-bullying, including rugby league star Robbie Farah being abused by a troll on Twitter, and himself trolling Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Following the outcry, communications minister Stephen Conroy, had termed Twitter, "arrogant" after his unsuccessful attempts to contact them to discuss the Farah case and on ways to combat cyber-bullying.
"They just believe they don't have to take any notice of the Australian public, any notice of the Australian laws, and they think they can behave this arrogantly," he is reported to have said.
To contact the editor, e-mail: