No Longer Twitter Exclusive, Meerkat Moves Closer To Facebook

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Meerkat, the live-streaming video app that zoomed to prominence using Twitter’s social graph only to be cut off when Twitter launched Periscope, has turned to another social friend.

Wednesday, Meerkat started giving people the ability to sign up using Facebook where previously it required Twitter. Twitter is still a sign-up option and users who initially registered for the network using Twitter can still log-in that way.

The move to integrate with Facebook was one of three updates that Meerkat announced this week. It also added a “Cameo” feature that enables video hosts to invite a member of the audience to temporarily take over a stream and created a Meerkat Library to privately store video streams (which until now couldn’t be viewed after the completion of a live event).

Linking up with Facebook’s social graph is an obvious growth-boosting tactic. Meerkat gained huge early momentum by tying itself to Twitter; when users signed up for Meerkat, they automatically followed all their Twitter connections on Meerkat. Twitter ended that particular ability two weeks before officially launching Periscope, but Meerkat still leans on Twitter to alert people of the existence of streams, auto-tweeting when people go live or when they comment during a live event.

Meerkat’s connection with Facebook won’t notify Facebook friends of such activity, Meerkat CEO Ben Rubin told TechCrunch. “Twitter is in real-time where Facebook is not,” Rubin said. “That’s why we chose not to do that and instead focus on your friends and interests.”

Instead, the Facebook connection means that users will automatically follow all their friends and Pages on Facebook. That should be good news for any brands active on Meerkat that have large audiences on Facebook. In May, Meerkat added another brand-friendly, Facebook-oriented feature, giving accounts the ability to connect their Pages to Meerkat and publish announcements of live and upcoming events to their Facebook followers.

Meerkat’s deeper relationship with Facebook — the social network had to cooperate for the connection to be implemented — is likely an indication that Facebook isn’t planning a rival service. Facebook recently has been surveying users about their use of Meerkat.

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