Bebo is making a comeback in February as a 'brand new social network,' 16 years after it first launched
- Bebo says it will make a return in February 2021 as a "brand new social network."
- Users won't be able to access their old accounts or data, it said.
- The site was founded in 2005 and had a tumultuous rise and fall.
Social-media network Bebo is returning in February 2021, according to an update posted on its website Thursday night.
"Bebo is coming back in February 2021 as a brand new social network," the post says.
The new site is currently available in private beta, and only people who have been provided with the password can access it.
All data and photos that were previously uploaded to the site were lost "many years ago" and are not recoverable, it added.
Twitter users shared their excitement about the announcement, with one saying: "I'm definitely getting back on Bebo."
The news "saved" 2021, another added.
—Seán Oh Boyle (@SeanOhBoyle) January 29, 2021
The rise and fall of Bebo
Bebo was launched by husband-and-wife team Michael and Xochi Birch in January 2005 in San Francisco. The couple had previously developed websites, including e-card site BirthdayAlarm.com and social-networking site Ringo.
"When we planned the site, all the cool, short names were taken," Michael Birch told The Guardian. "But after we bought [the name Bebo] we invented an acronym for it: blog early, blog often."
The site in particular gained mass popularity in Ireland and the UK, where it was the most visited social network in 2007.
But this was just as Facebook was taking off. After hinting at shutting down the site, AOL instead sold off Bebo to investment firm Criterion Capital Partners for just $10 million, and Bebo filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2013.
But in a strange twist of events, Bebo's founders decided to buy back the site for $1 million, with a pledge to "reinvent" it.
After taking Bebo offline for a hefty chunk of maintenance, the Birches brought it back online in late 2014 with the slogan "Probably Not for Boring People," alongside an accompanying instant messaging app called "Bebo Blab." Two years later, Blab shut down.
The Bebo site turned to streaming software and then to esports tournaments. In 2019, it was acquired by Amazon subsidiary Twitch, who bought it for Bebo for $25 million after outbidding Discord. The Bebo site itself was then taken offline.
Sixteen years after it first launched, Bebo is now making a come-back.
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