Twitter boss Biz Stone has announced that it is postponing scheduled maintenance to the site in recognition of the importance the communications tool is having in Iran.

The move will be seen as a further sign of Twitter's growing influence in the online world, and the way in which news is reported.

The "critical network upgrade" must be performed to ensure continued operation of Twitter, but Twitter's network partners, NTT America, said by Stone to have a good "global perspective" have agreed to delay the work until 1.30am Iran time when the site could be down for as long as an hour.

Stone says: "Our partners are taking a huge risk not just for Twitter but also the other services they support worldwide - we commend them for being flexible in what is essentially an inflexible situation".

Earlier this year Twitter hit news headlines after a Twitterer captured a shot of the Hudson plane crash that was live online within minutes of the incident, highlighting the service's potential as a news tool.

More recently the UK's Sky News announced it was appointing a Twitter correspondent to monitor the site's various feeds and content for breaking news.