Twitter Starts Breaking Meerkat Features By Limiting Social Graph Access

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Talk about timing: Twitter confirms they’ve bought Meerkat-competitor Periscope, and but a few hours later Twitter makes a move that kills off a few Meerkat features.

Meerkat is a fast-rising, Twitter-centric live video broadcasting platform that seems to be gaining quite the fanbase since launching just a few weeks back. Viewers of your livestream can tweet at you and have those tweets appear on your screen, allowing for quick, on-the-fly interaction and discussion.

Much of Meerkat’s success and draw lays in its tight integration with Twitter — something that many have noted could be an issue moving forward, be it that Twitter decides to get into live video themselves. Which, of course, they’ve just done.

And now Twitter has begun to cut off off Meerkat’s access to Twitter’s social graph.

So what’s that mean? Until now, new Meerkat users could login to the service with their Twitter account, and bam — you’d automatically be following anyone on Meerkat who you already follow on Twitter, and they’d be following you back. It let Meerkat seem like a very, very natural extension of Twitter.

Buzzfeed spotted the change first, when follower counts seemed to be a bit off when creating new accounts.

We’ve reached out to Twitter, who confirmed the change. Here’s what a Twitter spokesperson would say on the matter:

“We are limiting their access to Twitter’s social graph, consistent with our internal policy. Their users will still be able to distribute videos on Twitter and login with their Twitter credentials.”

Is it a devastating change? Maybe not — Meerkat already has a fair amount of momentum behind it. But it’s certainly not something the Meerkat team will be excited about… particularly with the now present threat of an in-house-Twitter competitor looming.

Update: Meerkat co-founder Ben Rubin responds, calling the move “a sad day for the Twitter developer community” but a “small bump for meerkat”: