Kik reverses plans to shut down messaging app

14 Oct 20191.63k Views

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Over the weekend, Kik announced that its messaging app would be sold to an unnamed company.

In late September, Kik Messenger founder Ted Livingston announced plans to shut down the messaging service so that the company could prioritise its focus on Kik Interactive’s cryptocurrency, Kin.

When the announcement was made, Livingston said that he would cut the majority of jobs at the company, reducing the workforce from more than 100 to just 19. The founder said this focus shift would give the company a better chance of success in an ongoing lawsuit with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which claims that the company’s $100m initial coin offering (ICO) was illegal.

At the time, Livingston said: “No matter what happens to Kik, Kin is here to stay.”

Kik Interactive announced its plans to launch its cryptocurrency, Kin, in 2017. The company’s ICO raised $98m from more than 10,000 participants. Kin was designed to be transferred on digital services such as gaming applications and social media, including Kik Messenger.

Reversing the decision

On Sunday (13 October), the company posted a statement on Kik’s Twitter account, informing the app’s 15m monthly users that the messaging app is “here to stay”.

A week before this tweet was posted, Livingston tweeted: “Some exciting news: we may have found a home for Kik!

“We just signed an LOI [letter of intent] with a great company. They want to buy the app, continue growing it for our millions of users, and take the Kin integration to the next level. Not a done deal yet, but could be a great win. More soon.”


Controversies

Before Kik Interactive announced plans to shut down the messaging app, Kik had been involved in a number of controversies. In September 2018, BBC reported that the Kik chat app had been involved in more than 1,100 child abuse cases.

A BBC Freedom of Information request sent to all 47 police forces in the UK revealed there had been 1,147 investigations by 28 forces into offences of child sexual exploitation, grooming and image offences involving the app. Eighteen forces failed to supply any information.

Forbes has also launched several investigations into child abuse on Kik, publishing one as recently as March 2019.

In 2017, reporters at the publication found that within minutes of creating fake profiles posing as 14-year-olds, they were harassed by adult men. Forbes also reported that the company had repeatedly failed to delete profiles of convicted sex offenders. The publication reported similar issues with Facebook-owned platform Instagram.

Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com