Meerkat: What You Need to Know About the Hottest App at SXSW

PHOTO: The icons of the live-streaming app Meerkat, left, and Twitter, right, can be seen on a smartphone on March 13, 2015.Kay Nietfeld/AP Images
The icons of the live-streaming app Meerkat, left, and Twitter, right, can be seen on a smartphone on March 13, 2015.

The hottest new app at South by Southwest is less than three weeks old, boasts an estimated 150,000 users and puts the power to broadcast into the hands of anyone with a smartphone.

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Meet Meerkat. The simple live video streaming app shares similar components to Snapchat but with a real-time element thrown into the mix -- and it's already caught Twitter's competitive eye.

The micro-blogging platform officially confirmed last week news that it has acquired Periscope, a live streaming video app. Consequently, Meerkat co-founder Ben Rubin said he found out the social network was stripping away Meerkat's access to Twitter's social graph.

In other words, instead of automatically populating a user's Meerkat account with the people they follow on Twitter, they'll have to individually re-build their network of friends inside of the app.

"We are not naïve, we knew it was coming," Rubin told Fast Company. "We thought that we would at least get a week notice -- a fair game."

A Twitter spokesperson told ABC News in a statement that, "We are limiting their access to Twitter’s social graph, consistent with our internal policy. Their users will still be able to distribute videos on Twitter and login with their Twitter credentials."

Since being cut off from Twitter's social graph the app's user base has grown 30 percent, according to a Medium post on Friday by the company's founders.

Despite its short time in existence, Meerkat has already been used as a platform for everything from protests in Ferguson, Missouri, to celebrity shenanigans and even the swearing in of Michelle Lee as deputy director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

What makes Meerkat so attractive is the easy way users can leverage their existing social networks with just a smartphone.

After downloading the app and logging in via Twitter, users can schedule a live stream or begin one with the push of a button. A tweet is then sent out from the user's account, inviting people to click the link to watch the live stream.

When the person is done broadcasting, the users can save their stream or choose for it to disappear -- offering the same ephemeral content that has turned Snapchat into a success.