Twitter acquires social broadcasting app Breaker

Twitter has acquired social broadcasting app Breaker, the companies announced today via a combination of blog posts and tweets. The deal will see Breaker’s team joining Twitter to help “improve the health of the public conversation” on the service, as well as work on Twitter’s new audio-based networking project, Twitter Spaces. The Breaker app, however, will shut down on January 15, 2021.

Breaker announced the acquisition on its company blog, explaining why it believes its team will be a good fit at Twitter.

“Here at Breaker, we’re truly passionate about audio communication and we’re inspired by the ways Twitter is facilitating public conversations for people around the world,” wrote Breaker CEO Erik Berlin. “We’re impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit at Twitter and enthusiastic about the new experiences that the team is creating.”

Breaker was founded in 2016 and is led by both CEO Berlin, previously the founder and CTO at social advertising company 140 Proof (which sold to Acuity), and CTO Leah Culver, who previously founded Pownce and Grove and co-authored web technologies OAuth and oEmbed.

The app had launched at a time when podcasts were still very much thought of as audio feeds and podcast apps as productivity tools — not experiences around which a community could be built. Breaker helped to change that perception by offering an app where users could like and comment on episodes, discover new podcasts by following friends, share favorite shows to social media and much more.

According to Culver’s tweet, she’ll be joining Twitter with a focus on Twitter Spaces, Twitter’s audio-based social networking product and Clubhouse rival. Spaces lets Twitter users chat in real time using voice instead of text, as they do today. The new product entered beta testing in December. Twitter is currently trying to work out not only the technical issues and bugs with the feature, but also the more complex issues that arise from hosting live audio, including moderation.

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