San Francisco -- Popular microblogging site Twitter explicitly said it has terminated its partnership with JustSpotted.com, a controversial new celebrity spotting website that lately began promoting its service, can no longer crow about its cozy relationship with Twitter, which is slated to launch next week.
Earlier on Thursday, The Hollywood Reporter exclusively published a story about the planned arrival of JustSpotted, a company that wanted to sift through millions of Twitter posts to single out tweets from people who have sighted celebrities, but Twitter denied saying it did not authorized its data to JustSpotted, but to that company's parent, a search engine called Scoopler.
JustSpotted just saw its contract with Twitter canceled.
Twitter executives declined to discuss the matter, choosing instead to issue a statement: "JustSpotted, then known as Scoopler, had previously licensed Twitter's 'firehose' data feed of all public tweets for its real-time search engine, Scoopler.com. JustSpotted.com is not the product we licensed, and we have terminated their agreement."
According to a Twitter representative who informed CNET via an e-mail stated that although the microblogging service licensed tools to the start-up, said it was unaware that Scoopler intended to morph into JustSpotted while continuing to use Twitter's data to track stars.
But JustSpotted promptly responded Thursday that it would continue to use Twitter to update celebrity locations.
JustSpotted co-founder and CEO AJ Asver confirmed that Twitter notified him Thursday of its decision to sever its relationship with his company, but he said it would not matter because the firehose data feed of public tweets is not crucial for the operation of JustSpotted.
"We have not been using the firehose since Scoopler shut down on Tuesday," Asver said. "We were actually going to contact Twitter and end the deal anyway because we are using publicly available applications and Web sites to organize Twitter data."
JustSpotted plans to utilize a mixture of Twitter feeds, Facebook updates, Foursquare posts and blog updates to plot a celebrity's location anywhere around the world in near real-time. A celebrity's whereabouts is plotted on a map of the world, with information about the restaurant or other venue where they had been spotted -- but not the actual address.
But JustSpotted sounded alarms among privacy advocates, who claims that it represents a new kind of intrusion on people's lives.
"Once a celebrity might have worried about someone with a camera and a flash," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Washington-based advocacy group, Electronic Privacy Information Center. "Now they have to worry about someone with a cellphone and a Twitter account."
JustSpotted is a new service from Scoopler, which was established two years ago, but closed its operations this week. Visitors to that Web site are steered to a skeletal version of JustSpotted.
Asver, describing the the celebrity gawking website, which launches Oct. 19, is intended to indulge fans' desire to get the latest updates about the stars they love, using publicly available information volunteered by celebrities. "We have been working very closely with Twitter for two years," Asver told THR. "We are one of a handful of companies that has that sort of relationship with them."
JustSpotted was sure to garner some controversy, given the Orwellian feel of the initiative and worry among celebrities that their already tenuous privacy would be shattered completely.
Asver, though, asserts that his site will be "celebrity friendly" and that he even intends on striking marketing deals with many of the very people he will track.
When introduced Tuesday, JustSpotted will also accumulate news about celebrities organized by name.