As we approach the one-year anniversary of Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, now known as X, it seems one of the many alternatives to pop up in the wake of the acquisition has thrown in the towel.
Pebble, which recently underwent its own name change from its previous moniker T2, has announced that it will be shutting down on November 1. The platform is the first of the many Twitter alternatives to launch after Musk to close down.
“We have some sad news to share with you today: as of November 1, 2023, Pebble will be shutting down,” the company shared in a statement provided to Mashable. “We are immensely proud of what our team and our community have accomplished together, and we feel validated that our vision for Pebble proved true: that purposeful growth, supported by a deep commitment to safety, can foster a beautiful online community full of vibrant human connection.”
According to Pebble, it appears that its investors don’t believe the platform will be the Twitter alternative of choice for users looking for a similar Musk-free social media platform.
“The painful truth, however, is that we were not growing quickly enough for investors to believe that we will break out,” Pebble’s statement continues. “Combine that with a crowded space of alternatives – and the uphill climb is even steeper. In order to continue to build out a complete Pebble, we would have needed more investment, and more time.”
Originally founded as T2, the social media platform was developed by two former Twitter employees, Gabor Cselle and Sarah Oh. Cselle left Twitter in 2016, long before Musk came along. However, Oh, who worked as Twitter’s human rights advisor, was laid off by Musk in his first round of layoffs at the company in November 2022.
Later that month, T2 was announced. The name was always planned to be temporary. However, it was only last month that an official name was chosen. The platform rebranded as Pebble in September.
In January, just months after Cselle and Oh’s announcement, T2 already raised $1.1 million from a group of angel investors to create a Twitter alternative.
However, Pebble failed to take off.
Bluesky, Threads, and Spill makeup just a handful of the many Twitter alternatives to launch to serve users looking to escape Musk’s platform. The space is so crowded that even Threads, an app created by Meta and heavily tied to Instagram, has failed to stand out and make an impact in the space so far.
Bluesky, with its connection to Twitter founder Jack Dorsey as an advisor and a direct multi-million dollar investment from Twitter just before Musk’s takeover, provided stiff competition for T2 from the get go. Both platforms had an invite-only system and targeted a similar group of users – tech workers and startup founders – from their beginnings. But, Bluesky had an early start and launched in beta around the same time T2 was announced. And just last month, as T2 transformed into Pebble, Bluesky had it’s largest single-day of user growth yet.
As of publication time, BlueSky currently has more than 1.7 million users. Last month, at the time of its name change, Pebble had just around 15,000 users.
According to Pebble, it plans to put something together for its small community to keep in touch. But, for now, Pebble users can export their data prior to the Nov. 1 closure by going to account settings at https://pebble.is/settings/account and selecting the “Wrap it up please” option.