Bebo relaunches as cartoon messaging app

Original social media phenomenon Bebo has returned for a second bite at the cherry after relaunchong as a messaging app in a bid to regain its mid-2000’s pomp.

The original platform came from nowhere in 2005 to claim 10m unique users at one point, earning its founders Michael and Xochi Birch a cool $850m when they sold it to AOL in 2008 – shortly before Facebook changed everything.

Now, having bought the rights back for a mere $1m, the couple are seeking to win back users as an Android and iOS messaging app before launching a web version.

Instead of relying on real-life photographs the new look app allows users to generate their own cartoon avatars whose expressions can be controlled by employing certain hashtags. These can vary in functionality from ‘slapping’ a friend to playing a game or sending a song – and more will be added over time.

Speaking to MailOnline Bebo CEO Shaan Puri, said: “A lot of casual conversation is about banter - so we came up with the idea based around that.”

Reminiscing about the old site Puri added: “It was a place to have fun with friends, and we hope those same things will carry on. This has got to be more fun - it's not about using us over twitter, we think people will use both for different sets of people.

'But with your best mates, we hope you'll be on Bebo.”

John Glenday

John Glenday is responsible for compiling The Drum's daily morning bulletin and ensuring that overnight breaking news is covered while you're still brushing your teeth. Can also make a mean cup of tea.

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