Facebook is shutting down Moves, Hello, and tbh, a trio of apps it launched or acquired over the last four years that haven’t developed large audiences. Facebook says it’s shutting down all three due to “low usage” and that it will delete all of their user data within 90 days.
In the case of Moves, a stylish fitness tracking app launched in 2013 and bought by Facebook a year later, and Hello, an Android dialer that merged Facebook details with contact info, the issue wasn’t just a lack of audience but a lack of development. Neither app saw much improvement after launch and neither has been updated in more than a year. Hello only seemed to make it four months before being abandoned.
Tbh was supposed to be a bigger deal. It was an anonymous social media app that allowed high school students to send prewritten compliments to each other. The app was a nice twist on something like Yik Yak — focusing on younger audiences and anonymity, but essentially mandating positivity. Tbh continued to be updated and even launched a messaging feature recently. But apparently that wasn’t enough. Of the three apps, this one seems like the biggest failure given that Facebook only bought the app in October, and it launched just 11 months ago.
Facebook has gone through phases where it decides to experiment with lots of new apps by breaking out parts of Facebook or trying out seemingly niche new ideas to see if they catch on. By and large they haven’t, but it means those apps’ eventual failures aren’t necessarily a huge deal on an individual level (although Facebook’s general failure to build out almost anything it hasn’t bought with an existing audience arguably is). And in some cases, it’s possible Facebook was as or more interested in the team behind the app than the actual app.
With Instagram Stories continuing to grow rapidly, Facebook may not be feeling as threatened by the deluge of teen-friendly apps as it once was. But tbh’s failure is still a clear reminder of how hard of a market that is to crack.
Facebook says shutting down these apps will allow it to better prioritize its resources. “It’s only by trial and error that we’ll create great social experiences for people,” the company wrote in a blog post.