Facebook: Twitter is “in the rear-view mirror”


Twitter may still be the media darling of the day, getting all kinds of attention amid its huge user growth earlier this year. But Facebook, once considered Twitter’s most fierce competitor because it also wants to let users post bite-sized updates online about their thoughts, apparently no longer thinks of Twitter as a threat.

Facebook’s executives aren’t really thinking much about Twitter these days and see it as a niche site which is unlikely to grow — or at least, so they say.

“Twitter is a great company,” said Chamath Palihapitiya, Facebook’s vice president of growth, mobile and international expansion in an interview yesterday. “What they do is offer a way to publish information in a very consumable, public way.”

But, he continued, “they’re in the rear-view mirror.”

“To focus on a company with 40 million users that is not growing is not a good idea,” he said, citing Hitwise market share data as evidence of Twitter’s slowdown.

Palihapitiya said the last time he thought about the company was when Twitter board member Bijan Sabet looked him up in April and took him to coffee. (It’s amusing that Twitter co-founder Biz Stone used the exact same “rear-view mirror” language to describe the competition when we talked to him last month.)

Palihapitiya made the comments in a portion of the interview where we asked him about which company — Google or Twitter — is the bigger competitor to Facebook. Other Facebook executives, including Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, have also suggested that Google is more of a competitor than Twitter.

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