TikTok parent company ByteDance has removed any online access to one of its social networking apps in a move that signals the world’s most valuable unicorn is further consolidating operations and taking a step back from some non-core businesses, reports the South China Morning Post. Feiliao, launched as an instant messenger in 2019 and known globally as Flipchat, is no longer available in various app stores.
The app temporarily became unavailable for download for two months earlier this year before it was relaunched in July as an audio messaging service. That move followed the sudden popularity of voice-based social network Clubhouse, which briefly took China’s online world by storm before it was blocked in the country.
ByteDance has dissolved the team behind Feiliao and transferred members to other departments, according to Chinese media 36Kr, suggesting that the app is being shut down. Existing users can no longer access the app’s services.