CNN gained nearly a million Twitter followers on Wednesday when it acquired the @cnnbrk Twitter account.
The account, the largest on Twitter with more than 947,000 followers, had been maintained and nurtured by James Cox. CNN did not disclose financial details of the acquisition, probably because rules at the microblogging site prohibit the selling of Twitter accounts.
The acquisition comes as the race to 1 million Twitter followers heats up. As of Wednesday afternoon, Ashton Kutcher was in second place with 917,000 followers, followed closely by Britney Spears, who has about 913,000 followers.
Kutcher publicly challenged CNN to a race to 1 million users on Tuesday in a video posted to Qik.com.
"I found it astonishing that one person can actually have as big of a voice online as what an entire media company can on Twitter," Kutcher said. "And so I just thought that was just kind of an amazing comment on the state of our media, and I said that, if I beat CNN to 1 million viewers, then I would ding-dong ditch Ted Turner--because I don't think it's gonna happen."
CNN accepted Kutcher's challenge Tuesday on the "Larry King Show."
Kutcher, who is best known as star of TV's "That '70s Show" and husband of actress Demi Moore, has said he will donate 10,000 mosquito bed nets to charity for World Malaria Day if he is first to 1 million followers.
Meanwhile, game publisher Electronic Arts is getting in on the action, promising to put Kutcher's 1 millionth follower in a future EA game and give that person a copy of every game EA produces in 2009--but only if Kutcher beats CNN to the million-follower mark.