Yahoo Groups, one of the world’s first social media platforms, will shut down on December 15, 2020. Yahoo made this announcement after seeing years of “steady decline”.
Yahoo Groups was launched in 2001 and allowed users with Yahoo Mail to form groups, post messages, pictures and files, make polls and create mailing lists. Over the years, Verizon, Yahoo’s parent company, had been driving away users from Yahoo Groups as well. This included removing content from the group pages, and officially announcing that no new content could be created after October 21, 2019. This was followed by removing all content on December 14, 2019, turning Yahoo Groups into a mailing list platform.
Many users had queries regarding how this will affect their emails. The company clarified this stating, “The only thing being decommissioned is Yahoo Groups (groups.yahoo.com) and emails sent from Yahoo Groups. Yahoo Mail will continue to function normally.”
After December 15, 2020, the site will be pulled down, users will be unable to send or receive emails to group members, and all groups will be disabled. All emails until then can be stored with users on their Yahoo mails, but none after it. For users who wish to communicate with group members once the site is pulled down, member details can be shared only by group admins. For information about how to continue this process, users can access Yahoo’s official blogpost about the issue.
Yahoo also suggested alternative platforms for “loyal” users to use, once the site is pulled down. Although they do not have any official partnerships, Yahoo suggested that users can shift to sites like Nextdoor, Google Groups, or Facebook groups.
In 2010, Yahoo Groups had more than 115 million users, but then keep seeing a decline with the gaining popularity of other social media platforms. Yahoo has now said, “While these (Shutting down Yahoo Groups) decisions are never easy, we must sometimes make difficult decisions regarding products that no longer fit our long-term strategy as we hone our focus on other areas of the business.”
The end of Yahoo Groups is seen as the closing of a chapter in the history of the internet by many internet archivists. Last year, a team of volunteers managed to archive content from Yahoo Groups before it was pulled down. The ultimate goal was uploading this content on the Internet Archive.