Facebook aims to make celeb Twitter for the birds
SAN FRANCISCO: Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga are the most followed celebrities on Twitter, yet the pop stars have even more “likes” on Facebook. Now the world’s biggest social network is looking to capitalise.
As Twitter revels in its successful initial public offering (IPO), Facebook is pushing on to the microblog’s turf, preparing to roll out a tool that makes it easier for the rich and famous to chat with their followers, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the feature hasn’t been released.
Letting actors, athletes and politicians communicate in 140 characters via public question- and- answer sessions has helped Twitter’s popularity by removing the barrier between celebrity and fan. The stakes escalate now that Twitter must appease investors while also competing more deeply with Facebook, which is helping its billion-plus users interact with their heroes.
“This is an area of strategic importance to us,” said Justin Osofsky, vice president of media partnerships and global operations at Menlo Park-based Facebook. “We’ve been building our partnerships team in Los Angeles and globally to better work with celebrities and media partners and simultaneously investing in products that better survice the conversation.”
Osofsky didn’t comment on specific products the company is developing. He said his team had grown to more than 10 people and continued to expand.
Rachael Horwitz, a Twitter spokeswoman, declined to comment.
Two years ago Facebook and San Francisco- based Twitter were venture-backed social-networking companies trying to prove there was big money to be made in online chats.
Now they’re worth about a combined $140 billion and vying for leadership in the socialmedia advertising market, which is projected to surge to $11bn in the US in 2017 from $4.7bn last year, according to researcher BIA/Kelsey.
The celebrity battle is symptomatic of a bigger clash between the two companies, which are located about 48km apart in the country’s technology hub. Both are vying to connect advertisers with mobile users, bolster international revenue and hire Silicon Valley’s best developers.
Twitter is still a fraction of the size of Facebook, with about one-fifth the market capitalisation and number of users and one-twelfth the revenue.
Facebook is using that heft to lure celebrity attention. It’s improving products to woo musicians, sports stars and other popular personalities, encouraging them to interact with fans, according to Osofsky.
“It’s still the default to just go to Twitter and gain a following there,” said Phil Contrino, chief analyst at researcher BoxOffice.com. “But Facebook in a lot of ways can be just as powerful. Maybe you’ll see more celebrities starting to use that as Twitter gets a little crowded.” – Washington Post
TWEET LIFE: Katy Perry and Lady Gaga might switch to Facebook