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Monday, January 24, 2011, 05:00 pm PT (08:00 pm ET)

Apple launches App Store social links on Twitter, Facebook

Following up on its efforts to defend the trademark "App Store," Apple has launched a Twitter account promising exclusive offers and new app discovery, similar to its existing iTunes Twitter accounts and Facebook pages.

The new AppStore account lets Twitter users subscribe to regular update tweets posted by the company. In its first few hours, the company has posted a welcome message and a tweet recommending the free Nike Training Club app.

Both tweets include the #appstore hash tag, which allows Twitter users to track any tweets by anyone including the same subject. The recommended app also includes a link to the web page version of the app, via a URL using the appstore.com domain.

Apple now owns that domain, although it currently just forwards to a 'page not found' messages on Apple's main site. Specific product links, like the Nike app, direct users to the web version of the iTunes App Store, which links to the app within iTunes for further review or to download it.

Lots of Twitter followers, likes on Facebook

Apple also operates five other official Twitter accounts: iTunes Trailers, which posts updates on new movie trailers available in iTunes; iTunes Podcasts, which links to a daily episode recommendation; as well as iTunes TV, iTunes Movies and iTunes Music, each of which links to featured content and posts exclusive offers and information about pre-orders and new releases.

Each of Apple's Twitter accounts has roughly 40-50,000 followers apart from Music, which currently has more than 687,000 followers, and Trailers, which has over 1,577,000 followers.

The company also manages nine regional iTunes pages on Facebook, with the US page getting over 10 million 'likes' from Facebook users, as well as a relatively new App Store page on Facebook with nearly a million 'likes.' That page has similarly recommended a few different individual apps each day since being set up January 6.

Apple integrated Twitter into its new Ping social recommendation network within iTunes 10 last November, enabling Ping users to tweet their iTunes comments, likes, recommendations and reviews to Twitter followers, and to find other Ping users among users they are already connected to via Twitter.

Fighting with Facebook

The company reportedly worked for a year and a half to integrate Ping with Facebook, but failed to reach an agreement by the time Ping was launched last fall. Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs said Facebook demanded "onerous terms" that killed an official deal.

Ping launched using Facebook's Connect API to allow users to look up their friends on Facebook and invite them to Ping, but Facebook blocked API calls from Ping to prevent this from working.

Facebook has also fought with Google over data connectivity issues, with Google insisting that Facebook should allow its users to import their data from Facebook if the social network wants its users to be able to access contact data from Google.

Facebook has signed deals with Yahoo and Microsoft's Hotmail services, but remains at odds with Apple, Google, and Twitter in allowing users of those companies' to discover their Facebook friends.

Readers can follow AppleInsider and Daniel Eran Dilger on Twitter.