Science and Tech


Twitter Becomes Twitpic's Unlikely Savior

Photo-sharing service Twitpic finally shut down Saturday, but Twitter acquired the company's photo archives at the last minute.
Posted at 5:36 PM, Oct 26, 2014

The protracted and overly-dramatic saga of Twitpic is finally at an end. But in a surprise twist, the service is being kept alive thanks to an unexpected save from the company that shut it down in the first place: Twitter.

Twitpic founder Noah Everett first announced the six-year old photo-sharing service was shutting down in early September after getting into a trademark dispute with Twitter. Over a confusing few weeks, Everett first announced the company had been acquired, but then said that the acquisition had fallen through. Twitpic finally shut its doors on Oct. 25.

Twitpic's demise sparked a rush to save the more than 800 million photos stored on the site. Internet archivists and former Twitpic users attempted to download old images but were stymied by buggy tools and interference from the company itself. 

Fortunately, Twitpic's photos aren't going anywhere. In what was presumably its last blog post, Twitpic announced its domain name and archives have been acquired by Twitter. You can't upload any new content to the service, but existing photos — like the famous Hudson River plane crash picture — will still be accessible as long as Twitter continues to support the archive.

In any event, this finally seems like the end of the road for Twitpic, and not very many people are mourning its loss. The service itself was rendered mostly obsolete when Twitter introduced its own robust photo-sharing tools in 2011.

A Gizmodo writer called the acquisition: "a fairly dignified ending for a service that is, by this stage, almost entirely surplus to requirements."

And a Mashable writer notes this is about as good an ending as everyone involved could have hoped for. "Everett got rid of Twitpic, Twitter got rid of a service with a name that was probably too similar to its own for comfort and users don't have to worry about their images disappearing into the night."

As part of the acquisition, Twitpic's apps have been removed from the iOS and Android stores and will no longer be supported.