SportStream, a San Francisco-based startup whose app lets users analyse social media mentions of sport, has been acquired by Facebook.

The move is widely speculated to have been an attempt by Facebook to become more like social media rival Twitter, which allows users to view what others are saying on the same subject.

SportStream, founded 18 months ago, enables broadcasters and content editors to aggregate, filter and display sports data in real-time. Sporting events are among the highest trending topics on Twitter, and Facebook is more than likely looking to identify what users are talking about to enable them to challenge the dominance of the real-time social site.

Next step

SportStream has welcomed the deal, the value of which was not disclosed, and believes the move can help it reach more people.

In a statement, Facebook said: "Facebook sees the value in our technologies and team, and we're excited to be a part of their continued investment in their platform. With this next step for SportStream, we'll have greater resources to continue to do what we do best and make an impact on the more than one billion people who use Facebook."

Facebook has taken steps to make it easier for users to use specific topics. These include the introduction of hashtags, embedded posts and trending topics. October saw Facebook purchase mobile data compression startup Onavo in a bid to make its service more cross-platform, especially on mobile devices.