Facebook letting bigwigs fire updates to Twitter

August 21, 2009
This picture taken in July 2009 in Paris shows the frontpage of Twitter, a leading Internet microblogging site. Facebook on Friday said it is letting celebrities, businesses and others with public pages at the social-networking hotspot instantly turn status updates into tweets at Twitter.

Facebook on Friday said it is letting celebrities, businesses and others with public pages at the social-networking hotspot instantly turn status updates into tweets at Twitter.

In coming days, Facebook will release software enabling managers of public pages to route automatically to the wildly popular micro-blogging service. Walls will remain between and personal Facebook profiles.

"Twitter was a natural next step to link with Facebook Pages because it is a powerful tool for broadcasting short messages widely," Facebook engineering intern Michael Gummelt said in a message at the firm's official website.

"Public figures, musicians, businesses and organizations of all types who've created Facebook Pages often want to share a status update, a photo or an event with as many of their supporters as possible."

Gummelt crafted the update-sharing feature while working at Facebook during a break at Stanford University, where he is entering his junior year.

"Celebrities may want to share personal news or charities may want to put out calls for help to both their Facebook fans and their Twitter followers, all at the same time," Gummelt said.

Those already using the feature to bounce Facebook Pages updates to Twitter reportedly include popular US comedian Dane Cook and The World Wildlife Fund.

Facebook rolled out public pages when it revamped its home page early this year.

People using public pages can fire instant updates to limitless Facebook audiences in a fashion mirroring Twitter.

The San Francisco-based microblogging service became an international sensation by allowing text messages of no more than 140 characters to be blasted to countless computers or mobile phones.

Facebook still limits to 5,000 the number of friends that users can link to personal profiles, but has removed the cap from public pages tailored for celebrities, politicians and others with messages for the masses.

Those signed up for the new Facebook public pages at its launch included US President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and rock band U2.

"If you manage a Page, you now will be able to decide whether to share updates with their Twitter followers," Gummelt said.

"You also will be able to control what type of updates to share: status updates, links, photos, notes, events or all of them."

(c) 2009 AFP

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