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U.S. President Barack Obama made his first post from a personal Twitter account on Monday, doing so from an Executive Office iPhone despite previous worries about the device's security.
"Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account," the president said.
Although Obama already has access to @BarackObama and @WhiteHouse, both of those are typically run by White House staff, with only an occasional tweet by Obama. The new @POTUS account is Obama's own, although the White House Deputy Director of Online Engagement, Alex Wall, said that it will be transferred to successors.
Metadata in the tweet reveals that Obama posted using the official Twitter iPhone client.
Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account.— President Obama (@POTUS) May 18, 2015
In 2013, Obama told Time he was using a BlackBerry because he wasn't allowed to have iPhone. Even though the popularity of BlackBerries has declined rapidly since the first iPhone shipped in 2007, the BlackBerry data infrastructure is still considered extremely secure and remains a staple in some government and corporate environments.
The White House may have deemed the iPhone secure enough after last year's launch of iOS 8. That operating system improved iOS security with things like default disk encryption, which — if used in tandem with a complex password, and other security measures — can make an iPhone extremely difficult to crack.
A White House official explained to BuzzFeed News that the iPhone used was not Obama's, but rather one registered to the Executive Office of the President. Obama continues to have a specially locked-down BlackBerry as his regular phone.