Facebook is shutting down its Moments app

Facebook is shutting down its Moments app

Exclusive: Remember the photo app? Not many others do, either. It goes away Feb. 25

ake a moment to remember Moments.

Facebook said on Thursday it was shuttering Moments, its standalone app for privately sharing photos with friends, in part because few people were using it. The app's services will be discontinued on Feb. 25.

Moments, first released in 2015, lets you share pictures that are stored on your phone with your Facebook friends without actually uploading the photos to the social network itself. The concept, which is similar to Google Photos, was for people to be able to easily swap group photos or vacation pictures more easily.

"We're ending support for the Moments app, which we originally launched as a place for people to save their photos," Rushabh Doshi, director of product management for Moments, said in a statement. "We know the photos people share are important to them so we will continue offering ways to save memories within the Facebook app."

Facebook said it wants to let people retrieve their photos from the app before it's killed. Here's how to do that: Starting Thursday, people will be able to go to a website Facebook has set up, where they can go through their photos and export them either to their computers or the camera rolls on their phones. That option will be available until May.

People can also upload their Moments photos to an album on Facebook's main app. By default, the photos in those albums will be set so only you can see them.

On Thursday, Facebook began informing users of the shutdown through email, as well as an alert on the Moments app. Next week, people who have used the Moments app within the last year will also get a notification when they open the main Facebook app. 

Facebook said it's shutting down the app because not many people are using it, though the company declined to share user numbers. But Sensor Tower, a mobile analytics firm, said the app has been installed by 87 million users on Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store since the service was first launched. At its peak, the app was downloaded 10.7 million times in June 2016. That declined to about 150,000 downloads last month, Sensor Tower said. 

(Anecdotally, I forgot I had even downloaded the app, and when I opened it back up to write this story, I saw that my last shared album was from 4 years ago.)

The announcement comes as Facebook deals with bigger challenges. Last year, the social network faced crisis after crisis, from disinformation campaigns to major security breaches. But from a product standpoint, Facebook launches and shuts down standalone apps all the time. Some other shuttered apps include Paper, Facebook's slick news-reading app; Poke, its Snapchat Clone; and Rooms, an anonymous chatting app.  

CNET's Queenie Wong contributed to this report.

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