Israeli Video Tweeting Startup Blocked by Twitter Just after Taking Off

“Twitter's move here shows how significant meerkat has become.”


Israeli startup Meerkat, which offers an app that allows Twitter users to stream video of themselves or their surroundings to their followers, has been blocked by Twitter.

Meerkat, which was developed by Israeli tech firm Life on Air, co-founded by CEO Ben Rubin, 27, VP Product Uri Haramati, 35, and CTO Itai Danino, 29, is based in Tel Aviv and only allows users of its app to live stream their videos.

The videos are not stored on a cloud, but users can keep their own copies.

But with only two hours’ notice, Twitter blocked the startup from accessing its social graph this week. Twitter made the move because the company plans on offering the same service to its users. It also did so less than one week after the service went live.

While Meerkat will still be able to use Twitter to promote itself and provide its services, it will, of course, be more difficult for the startup to operate.

Ben Rubin, however, is not concerned. He told an audience in Texas at the South by South West festival in Austin, “We never wanted to build a graph on top of Twitter.”

“We definitely knew that Twitter would be upset at some point. We didn’t know that Twitter would buy in another company in the space, [nor] that they would do it so soon. It’s just a little bit harder for us to build a community around new uses. We’ve already put some solutions in place.”

Rubin feels that Twitter should have given his company at least a full week notice ahead of making this move.

Before the conference Rubin has tweeted about Twitter’s move:

“Twitter’s move here shows how significant meerkat has become.”

“This is a small bump for meerkat – a product built in only 8 weeks by one person.”

“And a sad day for the Twitter developer community who build amazing products that help us connect with each other.”

And, “lastly, THIS is just the beginning for Meerkat. –The revolution will be live streamed.

But if Twitter does offer its users the same kind of service at some point in the near future then Rubin and his partners will definitely need to go back to the drawing board. Obviously no Twitter user will need an outside company to provide him with the same services that Twitter offers.

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