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.”