Facebook has acquired link-sharing service Branch for a reported $15 million.
Branch — and its sister app Potluck — are both tailored conversation platforms. Ironically, Branch was created as a place to have invite-only conversations outside of Facebook.
But it looks like Facebook liked the idea. Branch CEO Josh Miller announced the acquisition Monday — in a Facebook post, obviously — saying, "[Facebook's] pitch to us was: 'Build Branch at Facebook scale!'"
That's quite a change in tone for Miller, who wrote about a year ago in a post on Medium, "Facebook may have an irreversibly bad brand." Though he did recently correct his sentiment with another post on Medium.
Regardless of Miller's personal feelings, a writer for The Verge says the buy "makes sense given Facebook's recent focus on rebalancing the News Feed towards promoting actual news."
Miller says in the post the Branch team will form the "Facebook Conversations" group. What that entails exactly remains to be seen.
The Wall Street Journal reports this is likely a competitive move for Facebook, which has been "looking to play a greater role in real-time public conversations," an area where Branch succeeds. But, more importantly, an area currently dominated by Twitter.
And the link between the three companies doesn't stop there. Mashable writes,
"The acquisition is a bit ironic, considering that Branch got its start at The Obvious Corporation, a startup incubator created by Twitter cofounders Ev Williams and Biz Stone."
Miller says in his post both Branch and Potluck will continue to exist outside of Facebook. We'll see.
VentureBeat reports, "History has shown that non-essential apps don't stick around for long after Facebook hires their team."
The small team will reportedly stay in New York City despite the Silicon Valley buyout.