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Meerkat boss upbeat despite Twitter clampdown

meerkat app pulled from store
If Meerkat CEO Ben Rubin is at all troubled that Twitter has just made using his app a little more cumbersome, he’s not showing it.

In case it’s passed you by, Meerkat is a mobile app that’s caused quite a stir just recently. Launched for iOS, the free software lets users stream live videos from their handsets, with tight Twitter integration helping it to pick up a decent following in the three weeks or so since it launched.

On Friday, however, Twitter revealed it’d acquired a similar though as-yet unreleased app called Periscope. Hours later, the social media company said it was limiting Meerkat’s access to its social graph in accordance with its internal policy, a move that stops Meerkat users automatically linking their Twitter followers, effectively slowing down Meerkat’s ability to grow via the social media service.

“Twitter’s move here shows how significant Meerkat has become,” Rubin tweeted when he heard the news.

Speaking at the annual SXSW tech, music and movie bash in Austin, Texas over the weekend, the man behind Meerkat has been talking up his app and playing down Twitter’s disruptive move.

In fact, Ben Rubin even had a few good words to say about the social media giant.

Appearing on stage at the Yahoo Tech event, the CEO said he was grateful for Twitter’s early support, acknowledging that without it Meerkat would’ve had a much harder time making a name for itself.

Related: Twitter wants its popular users to stop posting Instagram links

He said he only found out on Friday, like everyone else, that Twitter had bought Periscope, and knew immediately it would have an impact on his own app.

However, Rubin insists Twitter’s restrictions won’t destroy Meerkat, though he admitted it’ll now be “a little harder for use to build the community for new users.”

He added, “You know, we were lucky. Twitter was very nice to us. And it’s their house. We need to be the best guest there is.”

The Meerkat creator said he never intended for the app to rely too heavily on Twitter, explaining that the social media service was an excellent way to jump-start the community.

All eyes are now on what Twitter does with Periscope, and how it affects Meerkat’s usage. Rubin’s app is clearly off to a great start, but with the mighty Twitter ready to offer plenty of support for its new acquisition, Rubin will be hoping Meerkat’s user base stays loyal in the long term.

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Trevor Mogg
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