Social Media

Photo-sharing app TwitPic shutting down, blame Twitter

A Twitpic photo of a US Airways flight that landed in the Hudson River went viral on Twitter in 2009.
Source: Janis Krums

The company that "changed everything" for Twitter is shutting down ... because of Twitter.

Photo-sharing service Twitpic will be no more as of later this month. The application, which launched in 2008, allows users to upload pictures, videos and GIFs to share across the social web.

In a blog post, Twitpic founder Noah Everett says the "unexpected and hard announcement" is a result of Twitter's request that Twitpic abandon its trademark application. Since Twitpic does not have "the resources to fend off a large company like Twitter," Everett writes, it has decided to shut down.

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Long before Twitter gave users the ability to upload media to its micro-blogging site, Twitpic was the preferred application by users to share their pictures. In fact, Twitter's turning point came about as a result of a photo shared via Twitpic.

When U.S. Airways Flight 1549 touched down on the frigid waters in the Hudson River on Jan. 15, 2009, Twitter, for many, was just a funny word in the dictionary.

"There's a plane in the Hudson. I'm on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy," tweeted passenger Janis Krums along with a Twitpic photo that quickly went viral.

"It changed everything," Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey told CNBC in 2013. "Suddenly the world turned its attention because we were the source of news—and it wasn't us, it was this person in the boat using the service, which is even more amazing."

Ironic, then, that the service that helped make Twitter into the social media powerhouse it is today is shutting down because of it.

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"We're sad to see Twitpic is shutting down," a Twitter spokesperson tells CNBC. "We encourage developers to build on top of the Twitter service, as Twitpic has done for years, and we made it clear that they could operate using the Twitpic name. Of course, we also have to protect our brand, and that includes trademarks tied to the brand."

Twitpic has more than 8.8 million followers on Twitter, which puts it in 105th place for the most Twitter followers of any user. Twitpic didn't immediately respond to what the company plans to do with the popular account as it sunsets the service.

By CNBC's Eli Langer