Twitter takes aim at Facebook

Twitter co-founder Evan Williams said Monday the micro-blogging service has its eyes on competing with Facebook as it aims to attract one billion members, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Williams predicted during an interview that Twitter would reach a billion members, but neglected to specify a timeframe in which that would happen. Twitter currently has more than 165 million users, who collectively send out more than 100 million tweets a day. The firm also recently completed its first comprehensive overhaul of its basic interface and announced Williams will step down as chief executive to focus on product development; chief operating officer Dick Costolo was elevated to the top job.

Twitter is now the third-largest social networking site globally, ahead of MySpace but behind Windows Live Profile. On top is Facebook, which was founded two years before Twitter and has 500 million members internationally. Founder Mark Zuckerberg said the social network will almost assuredly reach one billion members in the near future.

Twitter has started placing more emphasis on generating revenues, having successfully undergone advertising trials with the likes of Coca-Cola, ESPN and Starbucks. The site also plans to introduce ads for small businesses that will complement the offerings for larger corporations, most likely by targeting the ads at users with certain interests or located in particular geographic area.