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Vine founder regrets selling company to Twitter

Daniel Roberts
Senior Writer
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Vine founder regrets selling company to Twitter

On Thursday, Twitter abruptly announced it would shut down Vine, the 6-second looping video app it acquired in 2012.

The announcement, posted on Medium (the blogging platform founded by Twitter cofounder Ev Williams) by “Team Vine & Twitter,” came just hours after Twitter reported its Q3 earnings.

The Medium post simply says, “In the coming months we’ll be discontinuing the mobile app.” But in a separate earnings press release, Twitter said it is “de-prioritizing certain initiatives and simplifying how we operate in other areas.”

This “restructuring,” Twitter says, “which focuses primarily on reorganizing the company’s sales, partnerships, and marketing efforts, is intended to create greater focus and efficiency to enable Twitter’s goal of driving toward GAAP profitability in 2017.”

CEO Jack Dorsey said in a statement, “We have a clear plan, and we’re making the necessary changes to ensure Twitter is positioned for long-term growth.”

Twitter will leave the Vine desktop web site intact and allow users to download their Vine videos to save them, but not create new Vines. It marks a sudden end to the phenomenon of the “Vine star.

Many on Twitter decried the news, and expressed disappointment at the loss of the video platform, which became a unique place for all manner of newsy and humorous social content, especially from the sports and entertainment worlds. Buzzfeed, SB Nation, Bleacher Report, The Cauldron, and many other digital media sites were active on Vine.

But the boldest response came from Rus Yusupov, the cofounder of Vine. He tweeted simply, “Don’t sell your company!” Yahoo Finance has reached out to Yusupov for further comment.

Shutting down a beloved social platform unceremoniously is further bad news in a bad week for Twitter. Although the company beat expectations with its Q3 earnings, it also cut 9% of its workforce—the layoffs quickly became the bigger story than the earnings beat.

Since going public in 2013, Twitter has been beset by criticisms of its slow user growth and slow revenue growth. More recently, the problem of vitriolic hate speech on Twitter has become a central focus during the US presidential campaign season.

Twitter stock is down 23% in 2016, and 38% in the past 12 months.

Daniel Roberts is a writer at Yahoo Finance, covering sports business and technology. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite. 

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