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MSNBC.com takes over Breaking News Twitter feed

1 December 09 18:15 GMT

A Twitter feed set up by a Dutch teenager as a hobby has been taken over by Microsoft news channel MSNBC.com.

The BreakingNews feed, operated by BNO News and set up by 19-year-old Michael van Poppel two years ago, was handed to MSNBC.com on December 1.

The feed delivers breaking news to more than 1.5m readers.

BNO News will no longer write Twitter updates and is now planning to launch a subscription-based news wire service aimed at other news outlets in the US.

The company was set up as a hobby Mr Poppel, 19, in the Netherlands in May 2007.

"It started as something I did in my free time, with no real intentions to grow it into a real business," he told BBC News.

"We went from 30,000 (followers) in, I believe, March, to nearly 1.5 million today - and the number is growing by 3,000 to 4,000 daily".

The company's new venture, BNO News Wire, will launch in January 2010 and aims to be a more comprehensive newsgathering service.

MSNBC.com will be the wire's first client when it launches in January 2010. It will focus on news from around the United States.

"Our Twitter feed has always aimed at American subscribers, which means some local news in the United States would be posted on @BreakingNews - and something similar which would have happened for example in the UK would not have reached our service," said Mr van Poppel.

In September 2007, Mr van Poppel acquired a video of Osama Bin Laden and sold it to the news gathering agency Reuters.

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