Is Twitter Hopelessly Outgunned by Facebook and Google?

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Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

It’s convenient to pair Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) as the go-to social media enterprises on the market. Between them, the two platforms command an outsized share of that ephemeral metric of attraction — call it buzz – that keeps them in the headlines and at the forefront of the broader conversation about social media, the Internet, and the adoption of mobile technology.

Facebook’s position in this small pantheon has been solidified by its sheer size, if nothing else. As of the end of March, the social network had 1.23 billion monthly active users (MAUs), 757 million daily active users (DAUs), and a market capitalization of more than $150 billion. The company reported annual revenues of $7.87 billion in 2013 and free cash flow of $2.85 billion.

Perhaps the most visible and visceral evidence of Facebook’s size are the two major acquisitions the company made in the past few months. In February, Facebook announced the $19 billion acquisition of instant messaging service WhatsApp; in March, the company announced the $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR, the maker of the Oculus Rift headset.

Each deal attracted scrutiny — both positive and negative — for a variety of reasons, but both screamed the same message to investors: Facebook isn’t messing around. The social network appears to have adopted a strategy championed by major tech titans like Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), which ostensibly competes with Facebook on a couple of fronts.

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