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NERVES

Twitter goes right after Facebook in its IPO filing

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Reuters/Dado Ruvic
Lot to live up to.
  • Zachary M. Seward
By Zachary M. Seward

Co-founder and CEO of Quartz

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Twitter confronted its biggest competitor head-on in the IPO prospectus that it just filed. In a section on “The Evolution of Content Creation, Distribution and Discovery,” Twitter said this about Facebook:

In the mid-2000s, social networks, such as Facebook, emerged as a new way to connect with friends and family online, but they are generally closed, private networks that do not include content from outside a person’s friends, family and mutual connections. Consequently, the depth and breadth of content available to people is generally limited. Additionally, content from most social networks is not broadly available off their networks, such as on other websites, applications or traditional media outlets like television, radio and print.

Ouch.

Twitter argues that the web has shifted from web browsers to web portals to search engines to social networks—and, now, to something else. And, of course, that something is Twitter. The company describes itself as “public,” “real-time,” “conversational,” and “distributed,” and says those characteristics define this new era.

Yes, those are just buzzwords, but they neatly summarize the pitch Twitter is making to advertisers. At a recent presentation during Ad Week in New York, representatives of Twitter’s advertising team kept repeating a new mantra: “live, public, conversational.” It was obvious those words were chosen to contrast with Facebook.

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