Live-streaming app Meerkat made a splash at SXSW, but weeks later, Twitter released a very similar competing app called Periscope, and the startup quickly discovered the cost of competing with a tech titan. Twitter limited Meerkat’s access to the Twitter social graph, which meant that the startup could no longer send notifications to a user’s Twitter followers when he or she started a live stream–its major user-acquisition tactic. Now Meerkat is cozying up to Twitter’s closest competitor, Facebook.
Starting today, Meerkat users can post their live streams straight to Facebook. They can also find friends on the platform using their phones’ address books, instead of Twitter, and sign in without using Twitter’s login (previously using Twitter had been a requirement).
These changes make Meerkat much less dependent on Twitter, which at one point even dovetailed into Meerkat’s marketing plans. “I think what helps brands here is the fact they don’t need to cultivate their own identity on the platform, it just allows them to live stream from their Twitter accounts,” Meerkat CEO Ben Rubin told Fast Company in March. “It makes it easy for the people making those marketing decisions to jump quickly into the platform because they don’t have to worry about a whole new profile to maintain and cultivate.”
After Periscope launched, in addition to cutting Meerkat’s access to Twitter’s social graph, the social network also allegedly pushed celebrity tastemakers to use its own Periscope over Meerkat.
Meerkat’s launch on Facebook, Twitter’s biggest competitor, makes sense–especially since Facebook has made video-watching its biggest emphasis. Two weeks ago, the number of videos watched on Facebook topped 4 billion per day.