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Twitter Kneecaps Meerkat, Boosts Periscope

Meerkat, a fast-growing livestreaming app that made use of a user's Twitter following to function, will no longer have the social media network's blessing. Instead, Twitter will focus its attention on Periscope: a similar service that it recently purchased.

BuzzFeed contacted Twitter and confirmed that Meerkat had been cut off in favor of Periscope. While Meerkat will still have access two Twitter functions, it will no longer automatically notify followers when broadcasts begin. This means that Meerkat users will have to build up audiences from scratch rather than relying on their existing Twitter fan bases.

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Meerkat has only been around for a few weeks, but it's generated tons of excitement in the social media sphere. What it does is extremely simple: either start a livestream now, or schedule it for later. The program syncs up with your Twitter in order to let your followers know in real-time – or at least it did, until Twitter pulled the plug.

Instead, Twitter has thrown its weight behind Periscope, a similar but more robust app that's still in beta. Like Meerkat, Periscope lets you livestream to your Twitter followers. Unlike Meerkat, you can watch recorded broadcasts, comment without posting to your Twitter feed, and see comments posted over the livestream in real-time. While Periscope arguably loses some of Meerkat's simplicity, it does offer a number of features in return.

Twitter's decision is by no means a death sentence for Meerkat, nor a slam-dunk for Periscope. Ultimately, users will have to decide whether they want an app that's streamlined or feature-rich – or possibly both, or neither. Both companies will be at SXSW 2015 in Austin, Texas, where Tom's Guide will investigate whether there's more to the story.

Marshall Honorof is a senior writer for Tom's Guide. Contact him at mhonorof@tomsguide.com. Follow him @marshallhonorof. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.