San Francisco-based microblogging service Twitter Inc. said it had begun the process for an initial public offering, a much-anticipated move in the wake of Facebook's debut on the Nasdaq last year.

In a "tweet" on Thursday, the company said "we've confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) for a planned IPO."

The confidential filing indicates that Twitter took advantage of a provision of the 2012 JOBS Act that makes it easier for "emerging growth companies" - those with less than $1 billion in annual gross revenue - to go public.

Among other things, the JOBS Act streamlines the IPO process for startups and enables them to keep their filing documents out of public view until the choice to sell their shares on the open market is finalized.

Investors have expected Twitter to launch an IPO since Facebook went public in 2012.

Facebook's share price initially fell by 20 percent but has since recovered and stood at just over $44 a share on Friday morning, up from its IPO price of $38 per share. EFE