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Meerkat Update Pulls Facebook Into the Livestreaming Mix

Facebook is doing what Twitter did not: It's playing nice with Meerkat.


Facebook is getting in on the livestreaming madness.

Meerkat, the livestreaming service that caught everyone’s attention during the South By Southwest conference in Austin earlier this year, released an update over the weekend that allows brands and celebrities to share their live broadcasts directly to their Facebook Page.

It’s the first time either Meerkat or Periscope, Twitter’s livestreaming competitor, has offered an option like this for Facebook. The update also means that people don’t need a Twitter account to watch these Meerkat videos. Now, a Facebook account will suffice. Soon, you’ll only need a phone number to create an account, Meerkat CEO Ben Rubin told Re/code.

The move is symbolic in that it represents Meerkat’s first move away from Twitter, the platform it has relied on very heavily since launching in late February. (Its first user rule was, and still is, “Everything that happens on Meerkat happens on Twitter.”)

Meerkat got a taste of how dangerous it can be to rely so heavily on another service a few months back. Twitter cut off Meerkat’s access to Twitter’s social graph, essentially making it harder for people to find and follow others. The reason: Twitter was building its own livestreaming application, and it cut off access so it would be harder for Meerkat to grow. In other words, Meerkat was a threat.

This new update shows that Facebook doesn’t see Meerkat that way, although this integration is minimal compared to what could theoretically happen down the road. If Meerkat adds the ability for people to log in using their Facebook accounts, or if Facebook allows people to source Meerkat followers from their Facebook friends list (what Twitter pulled back on), it will provide a little more evidence that Facebook is welcoming Meerkat with open arms.

That process may already be under way. Rubin said Meerkat sought help from Facebook on a handful of questions during the update process. “They were very friendly,” he added.

This could mean that Facebook isn’t building its own live streaming app — it may not let Meerkat integrate too deeply if it were — or that it has its eyes on Meerkat as a possible acquisition target.

For now, simply prepare to see more Meerkat videos in your News Feed.

This article originally appeared on