Friendster could best be described as the Facebook OG, and was created for people to network and find friends online. It had 3 million views in 2003, just a year after its launch – but increasing software problems led people to prefer Facebook, a rising star at the time, according to the BBC.
MySpace was also launched around this time, introducing unique features allowing users to display their favorite artists, musicians, and styles. In 2006, it was the most visited website in the United States – even more than Google, according to CBS News. However, as Facebook began to redesign its profiles to allow for personalization, over time, MySpace began to see fewer members. In 2019, MySpace had 7.5 million monthly visitors, LifeWire notes, but that’s nothing compared to what it used to be.
Facebook also launched Messenger in 2011, becoming fierce competition with AIM – a platform that was already struggling in a market full of instant messengers. The messaging app closed in 2017, with a emotional goodbye which marked the end of an era. Kik Messenger also closed in 2019, due to its own internal controversy, according to the BBC. Facebook was soon going one-on-one with Instagram – and obviously that led to an immediate takeover in 2012 (via NDTV).
Apps like TikTok and Snapchat also gained popularity around 2018, proving that any app that doesn’t do exactly what Facebook is can possibly survive.