One of the Internet's Oldest Social Networking Sites Just Shut Down


Long before Mark Zuckerberg dominated the Internet, U.K. residents flocked to a social networking site called Friends Reunited. Founded in 2000, the rudimentary platform gave nostalgic adults the opportunity to track down old friends and reconnect with them online.

Friends Reunited soon exploded in popularity, attracting up to 23 million users. In 2005, the site was sold to ITV for a cool $250 million, and was later handed over to Scotland-based publishers DC Thomson for $31 million in 2009. Despite Facebook’s eventual global dominance, Friends Reunited miraculously stuck around, outlasting other flailing social sites like Friendster and Bebo. Now, The Washington Post reports that one of its creators, Steve Pankhurst, announced that the ancient page has finally shut down after 16 years.

“Whilst it’s sad, I believe it’s time to move on and put Friends Reunited to bed,” Pankhurst—who later re-assumed leadership of the site alongside co-founder Jason Porter—wrote in a recent Medium post. He cited a number of reasons, including competition from Facebook, along with the fact that its most recent generation of visitors used the site as a messaging board instead of a social network. Plus, Pankhurst added, many of the site’s registered users signed up over a decade ago, meaning their contact information is likely no longer up-to-date.

While Pankhurst is putting Friends Reunited to bed, he’s planning to soon launch a new social networking site called Liife. It lets users chart their lives by sharing life-changing pictures and memories. It's not up and running quite yet, but you can catch a sneak preview online.

[h/t The Washington Post]