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UK Twitter users hit 10m

Record numbers of Twitter users access the service on a mobile.

Ten million people in the UK use Twitter, out of 140m worldwide, the company has announced. 80 per cent of those use it via their mobile phone.

The global average for Twitter users logging on via mobile is 55 per cent, so the UK usage rate is unusually high. The UK is said to be the fourth highest user of Twitter in the world, with the US, Brazil and Japan coming in the top three positions. In February Twitter announced it had 500 m global users, with 140m active users (people using Twitter once a month or more).

When founded in 2006, Twitter was designed to be used via SMS, which is why tweets are limited to 140 characters. It's high mobile use represents a return to its early genesis.

The site also experiences a high level of content generation from its users, with 60 per cent of users contributing to the site, whether by tweeting, retweeting or posting pictures or other content.

Twitter UK tweeted about the results, saying “snapshot of Twitter in the UK: 10m active users, 80 per cent of which are also active on mobile. And an office that's been open almost a year!”

The UK office opened on 1 June 2011, and now has more than 30 staff. It is gaining increasing success as an advertising platform, introducing promoted Tweets, trends and similar paid for content. Companies like Cadbury have run high profile Twitter advertising campaigns.

Cadbury say a recent campaign brought a 1,800 per cent increase in positive mentions for the brand. Cadbury's “Tweet for Sweets” challenge from the Promoted Trend had a 25 per cent engagement rate, according to a case study on the Twitter business website.

Photo: Getty Images
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When will the government take action to tackle the plight of circus animals?

Britain is lagging behind the rest of the world - and innocent animals are paying the price. 

It has been more than a year since the Prime Minister reiterated his commitment to passing legislation to impose a ban on the suffering of circus animals in England and Wales. How long does it take to get something done in Parliament?

I was an MP for more than two decades, so that’s a rhetorical question. I’m well aware that important issues like this one can drag on, but the continued lack of action to help stop the suffering of animals in circuses is indefensible.

Although the vast majority of the British public doesn’t want wild animals used in circuses (a public consultation on the issue found that more than 94 per cent of the public wanted to see a ban implemented and the Prime Minister promised to prohibit the practice by January 2015, no government bill on this issue was introduced during the last parliament.

A private member’s bill, introduced in 2013, was repeatedly blocked in the House of Commons by three MPs, so it needs a government bill to be laid if we are to have any hope of seeing this practice banned.

This colossal waste of time shames Britain, while all around the world, governments have been taking decisive action to stop the abuse of wild animals in circuses. Just last month, Catalonia’s Parliament overwhelmingly voted to ban it. While our own lawmakers dragged their feet, the Netherlands approved a ban that comes into effect later this year, as did Malta and Mexico. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, North America’s longest-running circus, has pledged to retire all the elephants it uses by 2018. Even in Iran, a country with precious few animal-welfare laws, 14 states have banned this archaic form of entertainment. Are we really lagging behind Iran?

The writing has long been on the wall. Only two English circuses are still clinging to this antiquated tradition of using wild animals, so implementing a ban would have very little bearing on businesses operating in England and Wales. But it would have a very positive impact on the animals still being exploited.

Every day that this legislation is delayed is another one of misery for the large wild animals, including tigers, being hauled around the country in circus wagons. Existing in cramped cages and denied everything that gives their lives meaning, animals become lethargic and depressed. Their spirits broken, many develop neurotic and abnormal behaviour, such as biting the bars of their cages and constantly pacing. It’s little wonder that such tormented creatures die far short of their natural life spans.

Watching a tiger jump through a fiery hoop may be entertaining to some, but we should all be aware of what it entails for the animal. UK laws require that animals be provided with a good quality of life, but the cruelty inherent in confining big, wild animals, who would roam miles in the wild, to small, cramped spaces and forcing them to engage in unnatural and confusing spectacles makes that impossible in circuses.

Those who agree with me can join PETA’s campaign to urge government to listen to the public and give such animals a chance to live as nature intended.


The Right Honourable Ann Widdecombe was an MP for 23 years and served as Shadow Home Secretary. She is a novelist, documentary maker and newspaper columnist.