The first few days of Twitter under Elon Musk have been rather chaotic, from executive firings to reports of bizarre directives to Musk himself tweeting conspiracy theories. Throughout it all, much of what has happened has been leaked to the press.
But one reported Musk idea has been rather surprising: the new owner is reportedly looking to bring back Vine, the short-form video service that Twitter launched in 2013 and discontinued in 2016. Vine was quite similar to TikTok, which emerged as a social media colossus later on.
Musk tweeted a poll asking, “Bring back Vine?” on October 30, with 69.6 percent of respondents answering yes. The following day, Axios reported that Musk is looking to reboot Vine by the end of the year.
The new owner “has instructed Twitter engineers to work on a Vine reboot that could be ready by year end,” Axios reported. Engineers have been asked to “look at Vine's old code base, which hasn't been changed or updated since the shutdown.”
Mr. Beast, the popular online creator, responded to Musk’s poll question with, “if you did that and actually competed with tik tok that’d be hilarious.” Another reply asked Mr. Beast, “would you post exclusively on Twitter/Vine if Elon offered you $98 billion?”
One former engineer who worked on Vine also weighed in.
“Some free advice, from someone who worked at Vine and also led the shutdown of Vine,” Sara Beykpour tweeted Monday. “This code is 6+ years old. Some of it is 10+. You don't want to look there. If you want to revive Vine, you should start over. Trust me on this one guys.”
“Let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that the Vine was excellent code, and theoretically “ready to go”, what other things need to be done to get Vine live again?,” Dan Palmer said on Twitter. “Here’s why this is completely ridiculous to anyone who has worked on real systems like this… First off you need to *build* the code. The build system will have changed and Vine was probably never ported into Twitter’s build anyway, so you need to figure out how to do this. That’s probably a months even assuming it’s the same tech as Twitter use elsewhere.”
“If it’s not, could be a year or more as you might need to build the tools to even build the Vine codebase,” he added.
There was also some speculation that a Vine revival would take place in anticipation of a future ban on the use of TikTok in the United States, as then-President Donald Trump famously tried to do in 2020. Musk even asked earlier this year whether Tiktok is “destroying civilization.”
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.