As Twitter continues to build out new features such as “expanded tweets” and curation-based services like its NASCAR editorial offering, it has become pretty obvious where the company is headed: it has given up on being a utility built on open APIs and is becoming a media company, powered by a rapidly-growing advertising platform. Twitter also has one big advantage that other media companies don’t: the fact that it doesn’t have to produce any of the content, but simply acts as a filter for information from other sources. Its success will be determined by how well it strikes a balance between helping other media entities and competing with them.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has repeatedly resisted suggestions that Twitter is a media entity, perhaps in part because the company wants to be seen as a partner for traditional media companies like newspapers and TV networks. But as its advertising business grows larger — thanks in part to reports from advertisers of “staggering” levels of engagement with ad features like promoted tweets — and it continues to tighten the rules on its API to squeeze out third-party developers, it becomes more and more clear that Twitter’s future is based on controlling access to the information flowing through the network as closely as possible.
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