This Thing Rule[d] is Facebook’s one good product and it doesn’t deserve to die

The short-lived digital zine app from Facebook's New Product Experimentation (NPE) team was a rare break from the usual doomscrolling.

An alternative food. Touch of God - two hands and fried egg against trendy coral background. Negativ...

No one could blame you if you said you’d never heard of the quirky little social platform called Most people haven’t. Its existence is barely a blip in the timeline of a god-awful year, its cultural splash a tiny one (even with a scandal early on). But in its measly six months live for the public, plus a few in beta, it’s nurtured a small community of creators who wanted to embrace online creativity much the way we used to and, in turn, proved personality still has a place on today’s internet. Its purpose? To create digital zines — interpret that as you will. And users did.

But now it’s going away.

Last week, the team at notified users that it would be “sun setting the app and shutting down everything” at the end of the month. On May 25, only days from the send date, would be no more. Your zines can be saved as videos for future viewing but finding a new home for your chaotic life-collage might be a bit more difficult.

So, let’s take a moment to reflect on the short-lived app in all its glory.

The team posted an update mid-May telling users the app is shutting down before the end of the

Tumblr meets Myspace meets 2021 — The beauty of is the simplicity in what it offers. It gives you very little beyond the blank canvas upon which you’re expected to create. There are stickers, some of them serving as tags to group content of the same themes together (Gaming, Journal, Art, etc.), along with GIFs and the ability to upload images. You can even create multiple pages, using one as a landing page for your many other projects.

Much like Tumblr, but with the endless scroll swapped out for endless swiping, discovering other creators is just a matter of venturing out from the homepage and seeing where it takes you — or by more purposefully looking through the aforementioned sticker tags to find the specific content you desire. You can follow, you can share, you can react, you can add cute bits from other users’ pages onto your own, but that’s mostly it. It’s all about you, the tender of your zines, with very limited interaction otherwise.

I used as a hub for my work and to keep track of the books I’m reading.
I also used it for stupidity, like chronicling a year in quarantine through a Tamagotchi’s eyes.

And because the balance of creation vs. interaction skews heavily toward the former, one would be hard-pressed to try and harass another user on the app itself. The only way to comment on another person’s page is through a comment box one has to manually add and can delete at any given moment. It’s an experience reminiscent of an internet that no longer exists, a kind of safe space for all the little ideas cluttering your brain. Perhaps that’s why it attracted a userbase that seemed so genuinely nice.

You’d never know it was a Facebook product just from using it.

Thnks fr th mmrs — I won’t be losing much when officially shuts down; I toyed with it to avoid doomscrolling during the worst of the pandemic year and the most exhaustive work I put into it amounts to a yearlong quarantine chronicle through the eyes of some very emo Tamagotchis, which I was definitely very stoned when I made. But it was a fun place to mess around, and offered a unique platform to present my portfolio of both work and nonsense in a way that felt like me.

Where will my pets’ admirers go to fill the void?

My clips can move to Substack or some basic website builder but they won’t look half as (intentionally) tacky. And where’s the fun in that? I’m saddest about my book log, though, which I’ve dutifully updated since last year with every new book I’ve read, and planned to continue with my 2021 reading list. Goodreads just doesn’t cut it.

Some creators — comic artists, poets, photographers, gamers, diehard fans running musician stan-pages — will have a lot more to say goodbye to. Here’s hoping they find a suitably weird place to land.

“We are so sorry if this is bad news for you,” the team wrote in its announcement. “We are going to miss too. We loved seeing all of you create amazing things and want to encourage you to keep making the world a wacky and wonderful place! Never stop.”