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Twitter Releases Video-Sharing App — Will Facebook Clone It?

Facebook has apparently blocked Twitter’s new Vine video app from being able to find user's Facebook friends on the new service.
CNBC
Facebook has apparently blocked Twitter’s new Vine video app from being able to find user's Facebook friends on the new service.

Twitter released a new application for quick video sharing, and the app may already be butting heads with rival Facebook.

Twitter on Thursday officially launched the mobile service called Vine, which lets users easily capture and share short looping videos with a few swipes of your finger on a smartphone.

Since Vine is a stand-alone application, users are encouraged to share posts to Twitter and Facebook to capture more views. But Facebook apparently has blocked Vine from being able to find user's Facebook friends on the new service.

It's not clear if this was a deliberate Facebook move, or a technical glitch.

While not commenting specifically on Vine, a Facebook spokesperson pointed to a new post today on its developer blog, which clarifies its platform policies.

"For a much smaller number of apps that are using Facebook to either replicate our functionality or bootstrap their growth in away that creates little value for people on Facebook, such as not providing users an easy way to share back to Facebook, we've had policies against this that we are further clarifying today," according to the company blog post.

How Twitter's Vine Works

Similar to a GIF (Graphics Interchange Format), a Vine post displays up to six seconds of video. Users can record motion and sound and instantly share their creations on Vine's Apple iPhone and iPod Touch applications. Twitter acquired Vine lat last year.

"Posts on Vine are about abbreviation — the shortened form of something larger," writes Vine co-founder Dom Hoffman. Whether it's through a 140-character Tweet or a six-second video, Vine — which was acquired by Twitter this week — believes "constraint inspires creativity."

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo turned heads in the social media world on Wednesday when

a Vine clip titled "Steak tartare in six seconds." Intrigued followers immediately weighed in. "What the what? Short form video? A move on the animated GIF space?" replied @imavip. "Interesting," commented NBC News' @AnthonyQuintano.

Vine experienced a couple of hiccups on its first official day in the App Store. AllThingsD revealed that one user was able to see another user's private information, while others reported having the ability to post to accounts belonging to other people. Twitter said it was aware of the issue.

Facebook and Twitter

Facebook and Twitter haven't exactly gotten along. Facebook-owned Instagram disabled its integration for Twitter in December so previews of Instagram images would no longer be visible on its rival company's application. Later that month, Twitter released photo-editing filters in an effort to compete with Instagram.

Then there's Snapchat, an application that lets users share self-destructing photos and videos, which turned into an instant hit. Facebook launched a clone in under two weeks called Poke.

So if short-looping videos via Vine become the newest craze, should Facebook quickly add this feature to Instagram?

"Instagram is in no position to start dabbling in any other formats other than its core feature which is low resolution squared filtered images," Craig Elimeliah, vice president and director of technology and digital solutions at Rapp, tells CNBC.com in an email. "Instagram is one of those brands that is truly defined by the medium and should not start convoluting its stream with other formats."

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook, at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
Noah Berger | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook, at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

Does that mean Facebook should hurry to create a separate application dedicated to short videos?

Elimeliah hopes that "Facebook clearly understands Twitters domain is the brevity broadcast domain and that the brand really has the short message locked down." Elimeliah said. "Facebook needs to focus on its core mobile offering and figure out how to best define itself as a network that supports ads." In other words, "it should not try to be all things to all people."

When asked whether Facebook should focus heavily on video-sharing, Ross Sheingold, director of strategy at Laundry Service, wasn't for it. "The big question is whether Facebook wants to liven up (clutter?) their ecosystem by introducing something between an animated .GIF and a short-looping video or if they're happy owning the photo space," Sheingold wrote in an email. "I'm inclined to believe the latter. … Facebook's snackable content is the photo, which is the most lightweight, and has worked really well for their promoted post ad product. My gut feeling is they'll stay on that path."

Vine's Advertising Potential

What does Vine mean for Twitter? Elimeliah sees the new application as the next step in Twitter's ad play where the service can help augment television with short spurts of additional content during air-time or as teaser footage. "As Twitter becomes the reigning second screen app of choice, Twitter Vine can be used in many really interesting ways."

Small business can get it on the action, too. Marketing consultant Chris Brogan already drew up 11 ways a business could use Vine. Brogan's ideas range from sharing "super brief product show-off videos" to posting "quick personal introductions via a virtual meeting."

Time will tell whether or not Vine goes on to become the next big thing, but for now the app is certainly enjoying its six seconds of fame.

— Written by CNBC's Eli Langer. Follow him on Twitter at @EliLanger.

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