What is Meerkat and why is Twitter trying to kill it in the womb?

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If you’ve been even remotely keeping up with the tech world this week then you’ve probably heard about the new Meerkat app. Even so, you may not really have a good idea of what it is so allow me to explain. First of all, there’s a good chance that the app is already dead thanks to Twitter. The app allows users to start a video stream that automatically sends out a tweet with a link to the stream. Thanks in large part to SXSW, the app managed to become the 59th most popular social networking app in the App Store by Saturday. 

Call it Schrödinger’s app: You probably just heard about Meerkat, and people are already saying it’s dead. Meerkat is a new video app for iOS that allows anyone to launch a live stream using their iPhone or iPad. You could think of it like FaceTime, except you’re broadcasting to anyone in the world rather than just to Aunt Millicent in Denver. Start a video stream from Meerkat and the app will automatically tweet a link to it, allowing anyone to click it and watch from their laptop, phone or tablet. Its popularity has soared since its late-February launch. On Saturday, it was the 59th most popular social networking app in the App Store, according to App Annie, a feat that coincides with the buzz it’s received at South by Southwest this weekend. But Twitter may have killed it on Friday. As Mat Honan reported for Buzzfeed, the social media giant removed Meerkat’s ability to import social connections from its (much larger) platform. This effectively means Meerkat can’t piggyback off the years of social buildup you may already have on Twitter.

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