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Twitter is killing off Vine, the short-form video app it once hoped would complement its text-based network with a vibrant community of independent creators. The mobile app will be discontinued "in coming months," the company said. A source told The Verge that significant layoffs hit Vine today, though Twitter declined to specify how many at Vine were affected or whether any employees were being offered new jobs.
The company said it would not delete any Vines that have been posted — for now, anyway. "We value you, your Vines, and are going to do this the right way," the company said in a Medium post. "You'll be able to access and download your Vines. We'll be keeping the website online because we think it's important to still be able to watch all the incredible Vines that have been made."
Twitter bought Vine, which had yet to launch, in late 2012. It launched in January 2013, and its looping 6-second clips gradually became a popular format for sports highlights, visual effects, and comedy. A number of Vine stars improbably became popular recording artists after clips of themselves singing went viral, most notably Shawn Mendes.
And yet Vine never became the destination that Twitter had hoped for. Its co-founders gradually quit, and Twitter was slow to invest in the property. The launch of video on Instagram in 2013 blunted its growth, and as with the rest of Twitter, its product added features at a glacial pace.
The end of Vine comes as Twitter tries to overhaul its core product, which has been slow to add users or grow revenue. The company said today that it would lay off 9 percent of its workforce, or about 350 people, as it attempts to find a sustainable path forward. A recent effort to sell the company failed when no one would meet Twitter's asking price.