Mobile phone service providers Safaricom and giant social network Twitter have ended a service that became famous with Nakuru’s Lanet Umoja chief Francis Kariuki, for sharing important information to residents through text message. The service allowed twitter users to share their tweets to other people through text message free off-charge, upon subscription.

The chief made headlines both locally and abroad for the way he took advantage of a service provided by social media to share tweets to hundreds of people via text message.

The chief would communicate to residents in his location using Twitter by sending tweets which are then delivered to those who had subscribed to his tweets through a free text messaging service.

The ingenuity of the service is that you do not need to have a Twitter account or an internet connection to get alerts from the chief.

The residents, upon reception of any message from the chief, would act promptly. In most cases, they were security concerns that needed urgent response.

Due to its efficiency, the chief was invited to Silicon Valley in San Francisco to give a talk on his transformative way of using Twitter as a crime-fighting tool.

However, the service will be no more, unless the two firms review their decision to end the service.

Safaricom confirmed that it had pulled the plug on the service. The acting consumer business director, Charles Kare, said the five-year partnership on the service between Safaricom and Twitter had lapsed.

“We entered into a partnership with Twitter five years ago, when the uptake of mobile applications and smartphones was still in its infancy. Having run through its course, the partnership recently lapsed.”

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However, he said both parties were keen to extend the partnership.

“We are currently discussing with our partner how to take this to the next level by evaluating areas of improvement, bearing in mind the technology developments since this service started and looking into ways to add value to our customers through a wide array of products and services,” said Mr Kare.

Quoted by the Standard, Chief Kariuki said that they received the news with disappointment. To them, the service was time saving, as well as time saving.

“It is devastating because wananchi call me everyday asking what happened to Twitter,” he said.

More chiefs had started to use the service, with each of the 47 counties having at least one chief using the service.
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