December 2, 2014

Twitter may buy Justin Bieber’s selfie app

It seems like ages ago that Oxford selected "selfie" as the word of the year. That's because it happened one year ago in 2013, around the time John and Sam Shahidi founded the mobile app Shots, a selfie-only photo platform that has been backed by popstar Justin Bieber. This week, it was revealed that bosses at Twitter have explored the possibility of acquiring Shots, meeting with executives to propose a merger. CNBC reported the news, which relies on sources close to the app who say a deal is in the works. 

Thanks to publicity ginned up through other social networks and the devoted following of "Beliebers," Shots currently has more than 3 million users who are mostly women under the age of 24, according to the International Business Times. The app is available on both iPhone and Android, and the coveted demographic of young women could prove a valuable resource for Twitter as it continues to capitalize on posts under 140 characters. Shots has met some of its user targets in the year since its founding. 

""Our goal at launch was to have 30 percent of our users come back every day," said John Shahidi in an interview with The Los Angeles Times. "Today we have 41 percent of them using Shots daily."

CNBC also reported that Twitter CFO Anthony Noto accidentally tweeted a message revealing the plans, which could help boost interest in the network after its stocks fell one percent this week. 

Bieber's influence in the project's launch can't be underestimated: The tabloid fixture has promoted Shots on various social media platforms like Twitter, where he's followed by more than 53 million users. The app limits posts to photos taken on mobile phones with the front-facing camera only, and doesn't allow users to communicate through messages, thought to prevent the cyberbullying that pervades other photo sharing sites like Instagram.