When big names like Facebook release a new app in Google Play or App Store, you kind of expect it to gain some serious traction overnight and become one of the top social media apps by the following week.
But sometimes, this doesn’t always happen. Facebook’s app Moments didn’t shoot off to eternal stardom as some expected. Although it’s today an obscure application that most people haven’t heard of, Facebook did apparently (a lifetime ago, probably) suggest that you upload a photo or two on Moments. Despite this, it never really gained any traction, which is one of the reasons why it was shut down on February 25th. For those of you who still have photos on the application (for who knows what reason) don’t worry – you can still download your Moments photos from the website until May.
So, the real question is: what on earth was Moments? And why did it fail so incredibly?
What was Moments?
Moments was an application that made use of Facebook’s facial recognition capabilities to share images with friends. It had the ability to scan your camera roll, and if it detected a photo that had a facial match with one of your Facebook friends, it would then notify you and suggest that you share it with them. Although similar to a lot of other image-sharing apps today, Moment was geared towards more intimate sharing, where the only people who could view the photos were the ones who were in the picture.
If it sounds pretty useless, it’s because it is.
What were the downsides of Moments?
Arguably, one of the biggest downsides of Moments was how it didn’t really offer anything new to users. It was basically a place for you to store photos, which seemed to be the most common reason people used it anyway, and the sharing feature was no different from Facebook’s.
Sure, only the sharer and the other people in the photo were the only ones who could view the picture, but you can now do that with Facebook as well. Or you can just share the photo privately on WhatsApp?
However, it wasn’t exactly doomed from the start. Although nobody could ever say it was exactly trending, there was a time (June 2016) when the number of downloads reached 10 million. However, considering that the total number of downloads in three years was only 87 million, it seems like it was a one-time thing.
In fact, last January, the number dwindled down to just over 150,000. There are even stories of how some people even forgot they even had the app on their phone, and were only able to notice it when the application notified the users of its impending shut down.
It wasn’t the only one…
Although a large number of users are unaware, Facebook apparently has experience in launching standalone apps, only to shut it down later on. Here, we lay down just some of these short-lived platforms.
Everyone remembers the newspaper reading app that launched last 2014 named Paper, right? Of course not. There’s a reason why it was shut down.
Paper was an alternative for Facebook users that displayed only articles, and no status updates from friends. It had a rather sleek layout, and really did as it said it would, which was to showcase articles. The thing is, not a lot of people were interested.
It lasted for only two years, and shut down July 2016. Facebook then channelled their energy on improving the article reading experience on the main Facebook application.
Older users of Facebook will remember the poke function. It was a way to have fun and try to get someone’s attention “indirectly.” Yeah, we don’t really understand the reason for it, but there you go.
Anyways, the app was very different, and had many features similar to Snapchat. It really didn’t pick up well and ended just a year it was released. That’s all there is to say about it, which is pretty sad in and of itself.
The only anonymous Facebook application shut down after only 14 months of uptime. The platform only asked of the user a confirmed email address and it allowed them to chat with people without revealing their name…
The intent was to bring back old chatroom fun. Well, it didn’t really do all that well and it was shut down to make room (hehe) for other, hopefully more fruitful, pursuits.
So why did Moments close down?
Honestly, the only tangible reason the app closed was because nobody really knew of it. Sure, there were millions of downloads, but compare 80 million downloads to the over 2 billion unique Facebook users every month, and the download count doesn’t seem all that impressive anymore.
There may be other reasons, but for now, this is the one Facebook itself announced. The takeaway from this? Just because you were able to get millions and millions of downloads, doesn’t mean your moment of popularity will last forever (we’re kidding, please don’t unfollow us).