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BEBO’s co-founder has announced plans to revamp the retro social network to take on Facebook and Twitter

Michael Birch, who bought Bebo back for $ 850 million for $ 1 million five years after it was sold, said the redesigned website would focus on “real-time” interactions rather than the newsfeeds at its core focus on its competitors

Speaking to BBC News on Wednesday, the British entrepreneur said his goal was to take a “refreshing break” from the misinformation-riddled social networks that have emerged over the past decade

“We call it live social networking When you’re signed into Bebo, you know what other friends are online, “Birch said on a video call from his home in the British Virgin Islands,

“You can interact with them in real time, you can comment on their photo in their profile, you will be notified, come to the photo and maybe even have a conversation under the photo

“It’s an experiment, we’ll see how it actually works, but we think it’s a more exciting way to actually connect”

The 50-year-old started Bebo in 2005 with his wife Xochi Birch. In its heyday, the social network had 40 million users

The website was popular in the UK and Ireland and had a quirky and customizable design with an emphasis on blogs, photos and questionnaires

The deal has since gone down in history as one of the worst in the dot-com era

It was sold to Criterion Capital Partners, a small private investment firm, in 2010 for a fraction of the amounts paid by AOL

In July 2013, five years after the doomed AOL deal, Birch paid just $ 1 million ($ 760 million)£ 000) to buy back Bebo He planned to reinvent the website

Bebo went through a number of failed relaunch attempts in the 2010s, including as a messaging app and later as a streaming software company

Despite its track record of failed relaunch attempts – including by the original founders – Bebo will be restarting in the near future

Users cannot access their old profiles, and Donald Trump is banned from the start according to a Coming Soon page

Birch said he is coding the website himself with the new look after starting coding again for the first time in seven years during the coronavirus lockdown

Even before the relaunch, and even though the website was offline, Bech said that Bebo was attracting about three visits per second

He hopes a mix of curiosity and nostalgia will bring users back to the platform

Birch said the redesigned site will include allusions to the original social network but will have its own identity

“You won’t log in and see the original from Bebo as it was,” he said

“But let’s get back to that idea of ​​a profile a little. That you have an identity that you are proud of. That you can visit a profile and see things that are not just the latest news articles that are shared”

Birch stressed that one of the most damaging aspects of social media today is spreading misinformation and “sharing things that are similar to what your friends believe”

The new Bebo will avoid these “pitfalls”, but if it were to explore them in the future, Birch said he would think long and hard about how to safely implement them

“Right now, people might think it’s a refreshing break for Bebo not to be another misinformation newsfeed,” he said

The tech guru funded the rehabilitation of a Devon village and opened a members-only club in San Francisco

In other news, Facebook has launched a second “News Feed” in the UK that filters out posts from your friends and family

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World News – GB – Bebo boss reboots website to take over Facebook and Twitter