Bebo is re-launching this month

  • Social media network Bebo is set to make its return this month, with a focus on creative profiles and real-time interactions.

    In the days before Facebook and Instagram became ubiquitous, over 40 million people around the world were on Bebo. The social networking platform was originally launched in the US in 2005, but it actually became incredibly popular in the UK, where it overtook MySpace and reached over 10 million registered users.

    Bebo was the social networking platform of choice for Northern Ireland for a number of years but was quickly overtaken by Facebook. The site was sold to AOL in 2010 for $850m US and went through several relaunches and redesigns, but failed to gain traction as most of its users had already moved to other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

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    Bebo's original founders bought the site back in 2013 for just $1m US and it's been through several different iterations since then, even briefly becoming a gaming streaming service (before that was sold to Twitch). Not content to let the site disappear into the internet history books, co-founder Michael Birch has announced that it will return this month.

    If you go to bebo.com right now, you'll see a notice about the site's return, reading: "Bebo is coming back in February 2021 as a brand new social network. We are currently in private beta." It's followed by a note explaining that all of the old account information (including photos) is of course now gone.

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    In an interview with BBC News, Bebo co-founder Michael Birch explained that the new site is aiming for a much more connected experience that he calls "live social networking," with interactions happening in realtime. The site will be more focused on letting users create profile pages that they take pride in, something that modern social networks don't focus as much on.

    While news of Bebo's return is generating some buzz in the UK, the project actually started as a lockdown diversion for Mr Birch, who is currently coding the site by himself. He hopes that the nostalgia factor will help draw people in, and aims to create a social network that's not focused on news sharing in an effort to tackle misinformation.

    Source: BBC News

    About the author

    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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