Facebook has upped the ante against its competitors and opened up the site's user's streams to developers with the launch of new API.

Third party developers will now be able to see what users are posting on the site, and build applications that publish this content to services, sites and platforms outside of Facebook's official site as the company moves to take on the rising popularity of Twitter.

Users that give permission for their streams to be accessed in such a way will then be able to access their data from their Facebook homepage elsewhere on the web.

Facebook explains it as: "When you want to stay updated with your friends and other connections on Facebook, you can log into your home page to see a running timeline, or stream, of the information they're sharing. The more they share, the more you see in the stream and the more you learn about your connections. Starting today, you have the option to access that same stream outside of Facebook.com".

Mobile phones and desktop applications are some of the ways Facebook is opening up the streams, with "Facebook Desktop for Adobe AIR" already available for those wanting to see what's what without visiting the site.

The news follows the launch of Status, Notes, Links and Video APIs.