Facebook's New Twitter Feature
Built exclusively for public figures (athletes, musicians, actors and other influencers), Mentions is only for people with verified Pages in the United States. More countries will be added later this year, but Facebook did not say if regular users will be able to enjoy the feature.
"I think they could [open up the user base] over time, but this is probably their way to start," Wedbush analyst Shyam Patil told Benzinga. "If you look at Facebook, historically they've kind of started out, you know, small and then they broaden it over time. This is probably where the most interest is going to be initially anyway."
As The Wall Street Journal noted, Mentions "delivers a timeline of posts that reference that user. Trending topics pop up in Mentions for people that want to jump into a popular conversation, and verified users can also create new posts, as well as host live Q&A sessions from within the app."
If nothing else, Patil said Mentions should increase user engagement on Facebook.
"It seems like something people will be interested in," he said. "It seems like it's something that will get people to spend more time on Facebook properties."
In March, Facebook's DAUs (daily active users) increased 21 percent to 802 million. Mobile DAUs jumped 43 percent to 609 million and MAUs (monthly active users) reached 1.28 billion. Mobile MAUs also topped one billion.
Twitter usage increased as well, but the company remained a distant competitor to Facebook.
During the first quarter, Twitter had an average of 255 million MAUs and 198 million mobile MAUs. The company did not reveal how many individuals use the site on a daily basis.
Twitter Won't Become More Like Facebook
Now that Facebook is becoming more like Twitter, Benzinga asked Patil if he thought that Twitter would slowly become more like Facebook. Both social networks have copied each other at one time or other, but Facebook continues to borrow the most features.
"I would say Facebook is becoming more like Twitter through these kinds of innovations, rather than Twitter becoming more like Facebook," said Patil.
That said, Twitter still has one advantage.
"Twitter's better as a broadcast medium," Patil added. "Facebook isn't always a place where people have an identity on the Web and can share information with friends and family."
Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.
© 2015 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.