When Facebook acquired FriendFeed back in 2009, the company said it would continue operating the service as normal until “longer term plans” were developed. Nearly six years later, Facebook finally figured out what the longer term plan would be. FriendFeed will shut down on April 9.
Until then, FriendFeed users can view posts, messages, and photos. New users signups are no longer being accepted.
The story behind the story: FriendFeed may not matter now, but in 2009 it was a very innovative social network. It was never a success on the order of Facebook or Twitter, but it did have a dedicated cult following especially in the tech community. The biggest selling point of the site was its near-live updates to comments on posts. It made FriendFeed a fantastic platform for live online discussions among large groups—a feature that not even Facebook has tried to emulate.
Still not dead
If your first reaction to this news was, “FriendFeed was still running?” you’re not alone. Soon after FriendFeed was sold to Facebook many users abandoned the site, expecting it would be shut down within months. The site quickly became a shell of its former self and many users simply lost interest.
Looking at my own FriendFeed dashboard this morning most new content came from automated posts originating on other services. That lack of enthusiasm for FriendFeed is the main reason behind the shut down.
“The number of people using FriendFeed has been steadily declining and the community is now just a fraction of what it once was,” the FriendFeed team said in its first (and probably last) blog post since August 2009.
FriendFeed doesn’t offer its own data export tool and the team still running the site has yet to indicate they’ll create one before the shut down. Any longtime FriendFeed users that want to extract their data before the lights go out on April 9 should check out this FriendFeed export tool on GitHub. If that’s too complex you could also see what you get by subscribing to your profile’s RSS feed (https://friendfeed.com/[username]?start=0&format=atom).