Meerkat is distancing itself from Twitter. The live-streaming service now works with Facebook, thanks to an update to the iOS app released this weekend. That means that you can now publish Meerkat alerts directly to Facebook, and, more importantly, new users can sign into Meerkat without a Twitter account — you can now use your Facebook login. The update also introduces address book scanning and matching, so you can instantly build a network of friends on the service just by letting the app take a look at your contacts.
Meerkat hopes to grow its own community
The move is a clear response to Twitter's decision to cut Meerkat off from its social graph. In March, at the peak of Meerkat's popularity, Twitter decided to shut off access. By using Twitter's social graph, it was originally able to populate and connect friends on Meerkat merely by taking a look at your connections on Twitter. Just a couple of weeks later, Twitter launched its own live-streaming competitor, Periscope. Its popularity has since far surpassed Meerkat.
There are two other minor features added in the latest update. Popular streams will now get promoted to the front page of the app. Such streams are said to be "mobbing" and a cute animated meerkat on a rocket will fly around the stream. There is also new emoji support. You can now use an emoji to express yourself; when you do so, your profile image will briefly switch to whichever emoji you selected.