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Leaked emails show Mark Zuckerberg helped thwart Vine

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When Vine was new and things were good.
When Vine was new and things were good.

Image: Hoch Zwei/Corbis via Getty Images

The day we are born is the day we begin to die, and the same was true for the beloved but ill-fated app, Vine.

Mark Zuckerberg personally made the decision to revoke Vine’s ability to connect users to their Facebook friends, a recently published 2013 email shows. Zuckerberg’s role in the power play comes from a trove of internal Facebook documents, published Wednesday by UK lawmakers, that reveal Facebook’s inner dealings and approach to working with third party apps.

Specifically, Zuckerberg gave an employee the thumbs up to cut off Vine’s access to a Facebook feature that allowed Vine users to find and add their Facebook friends on the platform. 

Zuckerberg made the decision in response to an email from an employee suggesting that action be taken. The email exchange occurred on the same day that the six-second video app launched in January 2013. 

We already knew Facebook did this. At the time, Facebook was feuding with Twitter, which had recently made the same decision to cut off Facebook’s access to friend finding on Twitter. 

We just didn’t know that Mark Zuckerberg himself OK’d it, in spectacularly cavalier fashion.

Here’s the email exchange:

Any last words?

Any last words?

Vine shuttered for multiple reasons in October 2016. But The Verge cited that it “struggled to grow its user base” as one of the reasons for its death.

Finding Facebook friends on Vine would have helped users connect with their friends and enable their use of the platform. Mark Zuckerberg apparently hamstrung that growth effort right from the beginning, with the words “Yup, go for it.”

RIP Vine, 2013 - 2016.

RIP Vine, 2013 – 2016.

Vine co-founder Rus Yusupov has taken notice. Getting the feature taken away was apparently not an inconsequential move; nor was Instagram’s soon-to-follow launch of short-form video.

On Tuesday, Facebook announced changes to its app developer policy. All apps that were restricted from friend-finding access can now re-apply. What a coinky-dink.

Facebook didn’t kill Vine alone. Leadership issues, increased competition, and monetization struggles all contributed. But those four little words from Zuck certainly didn’t help.

RIP Vine, Long Live Vine, your time was brief but pure. Revenge upon your enemies, and may the six-second video reign forevermore.

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