Twitter acquires startup app Squad

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Twitter acquired a startup app called Squad that allowed users to connect virtually through video chats and screen sharing, the companies announced Friday. 

Squad will shut down on Saturday as part of the deal, and the app’s co-founders, CEO Esther Crawford and Chief Technology Officer Ethan Sutin, will join Twitter, Twitter’s Vice President of Product Ilya Brown said in a series of tweets. 

“Excited to share that the @squad team is joining @Twitter to help us bring new ways for people to interact, express themselves, and join in the public conversation,” Brown tweeted. 

“Squad’s talented team led by @esthercrawford and @EthanSutin bring a deep understanding of how people participate in interactive audio and video conversations – an important pillar in the spectrum of conversations we’re looking to serve on Twitter,” Brown added. 

Squad’s website has an update telling users “goodbye, for now” and announcing the acquisition by Twitter. People who used the app have also been notified, according to Twitter. 

Squad launched in 2019, but the pandemic boosted the platform as people were forced to largely interact virtually while social distancing from friends and family, Crawford wrote in a blog post Friday. 

“When we launched in early 2019 we thought the vision of reimagining live conversational formats was important but after the pandemic hit in 2020 it took on an entirely different and more vital role. It wasn’t just something people wanted — now it was what they needed,” she wrote. 

She said Squad will focus on “building inside of Twitter’s app” as it shuts down this week. 

Neither companies’ announcements detailed ways Squad will be integrated with Twitter. 

A Twitter spokesperson said the company is not sharing financial terms for the deal. 

The acquisition is part of an effort by Twitter ramps up its services, with the company saying that Squad is part of its investment in “new conversational formats.” 

In November, Twitter rolled out its “Fleets” feature which allowed users to post tweets or videos that disappear after 24 hours. It followed similar story features other social media platforms, such as Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, have launched. 

On Thursday, Twitter launched a feature that allows users to share tweets on Snapchat. Users can click the “share” icon on a public tweet and tap Snapchat to add it as a sticker to a Snapchat story.

Twitter said Friday it is testing a similar integration for instagram Stories in the coming days.

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