The official website of ByteDance-owned online social platform Feiliao (or Flipchat in English) has recently been shut down and download channels have been closed, although any official suspension announcement has yet to be made, Tech Planet reported on October 15.
On May 20, 2019, Feiliao was officially launched. As an open social product, it is a collection of instant messaging software and hobby-based communities, dedicated to helping users find more friends with similar interests.
The main functions of Feiliao include group chatting, and users can add recommended group chats to their personal homepages or create their own fan groups. Feiliao supports searching for interesting emojis by inputting keywords or tags. In addition, users can press the “like” button at the bottom left of pictures or videos in the chat for a few seconds to give a reward of up to 8.88 yuan ($1.23).
As soon as Feiliao went online, it was reported that it had been banned from Tencent‘s WeChat. A number of netizens claimed that after users click on the link of Feiliao in WeChat, it will directly display a message reading “the webpage has security risks and has been complained about by many people, so the access has been stopped.” After attracting attention, WeChat adjusted the ban permission. After clicking Feiliao’s website link and obtaining a QR code invitation from friends in WeChat, it displayed as “if you want to browse, please copy the URL and open it in browsers.”
After its launch, Feiliao’s performance was unsatisfactory. Although it launched the PC version in early 2020 to transform into an office-based social product, it did not receive a positive response from the market. At the end of 2020, product manager Shan Yi resigned, and ByteDance transferred most of its developers to the most popular online education business at that time. Only a small amount of maintenance and operation staff of Feiliao remained responsible for the the iOS version, and the Android version has been stopped as early as April 2020.
At the end of 2021, Tech Planet disclosed that the on-the-job Feiliao employees will be adjusted to other internal positions, which is regarded as a substantial dissolution. In addition, the Feiliao app can no longer be used normally. The closing of the official website means that Feiliao has officially retreated from the social field.
However, ByteDance is still exploring social functions through Douyin, with over 600 million monthly active users and rising demand. In addition, social networking serves as the glue of the Douyin ecology. At present, in-group chatting within the platform, the links of Douyin e-commerce and local life can already be shared. Social networking is becoming the window of various businesses for Douyin.