Here’s how Jack Dorsey reacted when asked about Facebook’s desire to ‘own’ live video

Jack dorsey
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Kimberly White/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

Twitter’s has based its comeback effort around being the social network for live events and happenings.

Unfortunately for Twitter, Facebook, which is roughly five times the size of Twitter, has also decided it wants to be the place for users to watch live video.

During Twitter’s Q1 conference call on Tuesday, an analyst asked CEO Jack Dorsey about it, inquiring how Facebook’s desire to “own” live would impact Twitter.

The query seemed to animate Dorsey, who launched into a lengthy rebuttal that began with an unfortunate slip of the tongue (bolded for emphasis):

“We’ve been doing live for ten years and we believe we have a leadership potential in it…we have a leadership position in it,” Dorsey said, quickly correcting himself.

Dorsey’s main defence against Facebook basically boiled down to three key points (of course, Dorsey never directly mentioned his competitor by name):

  • Twitter has more experience than Facebook in the live game
  • Twitter already owns the popular live video broadcasting app Periscope, whereas Facebook is trying to create a new app from scratch
  • Twitter specialises in the real-time conversations that accompany big live events like sports

All that may be true, but Facebook’s sheer size gives it a huge advantage that’s hard to understate.

To Twitter’s credit, its snappy, real-time newsfeed still gives it a huge advantage when it comes to live events. Just try following a big basketball game or presidential election debate on Twitter and Facebook, and it’s clear that the former is a much more enjoyable experience.

You can read all about Twitter’s Q1 quarterly report, which missed Wall Street targets, here.

And here’s Dorsey’s full response to the Facebook question:

We’ve been doing live for ten years and we believe we have a leadership potential in it…we have a leadership position in it. But it’s not just about showing a live event, it’s also about hosting a conversation around a live event.

Twitter has always been the best place to see what’s happening immediately, to see what’s happening instantly, and to bring people together around a particular shared experience. And as we talked about last time we think the easiest way to get what Twitter is, is really to show a live event; show people the great accounts who are providing insight that you can’t find anywhere else, you can’t find in your address book but you actually meet on Twitter through that experience, to connect them through a Follow and also to encourage them in a conversation.

And that is exactly what we’re focused on making sure that we continue to do. Because we are public, because we are distributed and because we are simple, we are the fastest way to see that event. But also it can go everywhere. So it can reach that 800 million audience that we continue to grow and we continue to focus on.

And then we’re working on making sure that we have the best experience out there and using technology appropriately to increase that experience and the enjoyment of that experience. Periscope is a great example of this, where we think we do have a significant leadership position in live streaming video. And we want to make sure that is the best, not only for broadcasters, but for their fans.

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