Elon Musk Might Bring Vine Back — Would It Stand a Chance Against TikTok?

Rachel Curry - Author
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Nov. 1 2022, Published 1:53 p.m. ET

Short-form video platform Vine had a brief, but intense, period of success. Founded in June 2012, Twitter purchased the company just a few months later for $30 million. Twitter began the process of sunsetting the platform in 2016 after Vine’s popularity waned. Newfound Twitter owner Elon Musk — who purchased the company for $44 billion — reportedly wants to bring Vine back.

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With Vine’s failure in the rearview mirror, talk of a revival brings up some important questions: Will Vine come back and, if it does return, will it fail again?

Is Vine coming back? Talk of a revival is spreading at Twitter.

According to an Axios report, Musk has instructed the team at Twitter to bring back Vine by the end of the year. As we step deeper into the fourth quarter, this aspiration may seem like a bit of a stretch to some onlookers.

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Twitter reportedly tried to sell Vine during the wind-down process that took place from 2016–2019, but failed to find a suitable bidder. A Twitter engineer reportedly said about the Vine code, “It needs a lot of work.”

Twitter shut down Vine for multiple reasons.

There were a lot of factors that went into Vine’s failure. Despite being a breeding ground for legendary 2010s short-form video content, it was also on the front lines of a highly competitive market. Instagram became popular in 2012, the same year as Vine. This era was also a come-up for Snapchat, and YouTube and Facebook were growing.

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Then there's the fact that Vine wasn't profitable. There were limited ways to monetize or advertise on the platform, and it soon became a weight on Twitter’s back.

Moreover, its three founders — Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov, and Colin Kroll — all left or were laid off early on. The senior leadership teams of Vine and Twitter didn't mesh and it made it difficult for the platform to move forward.

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With Vine, Twitter didn't manage to see the forest through the trees. Given the rise of TikTok, it’s clear that the possibility for Vine to be successful in the long term was there, but Twitter never managed to find a way. Could the original founders have achieved longevity on their own? Maybe, or maybe not. Either way, Vine is a relic of the past — for now, at least.

Musk might face problems if Twitter brings Vine back.

Musk wants Twitter engineers to review the code for Vine despite it being 6–10 years old or more. According to Sara Beykpour, former senior director of product management at Twitter and former employee at Vine, this code is aged and isn’t worth looking at.

By focusing on Vine’s existing code, Musk could be embarking on an expensive venture, not exactly a smart financial move for someone who just spent $44 billion on a company amid a big tech downturn. Sure, he could be Vine’s savior, but is it worth it — and are people willing to give up TikTok for a taste of nostalgia? These questions linger like classic Vine compilations on YouTube.

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