What is Bebo? Social Media Network Set to Return in February

Bebo, a social media network founded in 2005 and shut down in 2019 after being acquired by Amazon's Twitch, is slated to return next month.

The Bebo website states: "Bebo is coming back in February 2021 as a brand new social network."

The website is "currently in private beta" mode and users who have "been invited" are asked to enter a password at a designated box on the website.

"All old data and photos were lost many years ago and are not recoverable. Sorry," the website adds.

Bebo was launched by Michael and Xochi Birch, a couple based in San Francisco, California, not long after MySpace took off in 2003.

In 2007, Bebo overtook MySpace, as well as Facebook, as the most visited social networking site in the U.K. in July that year, ZDNet reported at the time.

It is unknown what features the newly launched Bebo will offer.

Previously, at its basic level, each Bebo user's profile page came with two modules, which included a comment section, where other users could leave a message, and a list of the user's friends. Their friends could also be notified when their profile page had been updated.

Users were able to add more modules to their profile page, allowing them to post pictures, music and videos as well as questionnaires, which other users could answer on their profile page.

The website unveiled a series of additional features following its initial launch, including "Bebo Chat," which was introduced along with several other updates in 2011.

The feature allowed users to chat to others through a Meebo chat plugin with Bebo branding. Users were able to show their availability status as well as access other links to Bebo's pages and special offers.

Hahahaha I used to create skins on Bebo and I used to charge people 3 ❤️s 🤣

That's it - I'm going self employed. KIERAN'S SKINS BUSINESS is making a return 💅🏻 pic.twitter.com/meIcTcpKNZ

— 𝚔𝚒𝚎𝚛𝚊𝚗 (@_knuge) January 29, 2021

Bebo's brief success led to it being bought by AOL, who purchased it for $850 million in 2008 only to sell it two years later. AOL's purchase was described to be "one of the worst deals ever made in the dotcom era," by a BBC technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones, at the time.

He noted: "The extraordinary thing is the deal was made years after the dotcom crash which was supposed to have taught the industry lessons.

"The interesting thing is that the founder, Michael Birch, walked away with $300m—it's the art of timing," he added at the time.

Following bankruptcy in 2013 and another relaunch in 2015 with the addition of the Bebo Blab messenger app, Bebo was acquired by Twitch, the video streaming platform owned by Amazon, in 2019 before it was closed down that year.

Social media apps iPhone January 2021
A photo illustration of various social media apps logos displayed on the screen of an iPhone in Paris, France on January 13, 2021. Photo illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images