When Twitter announced it had acquired Periscope in March 2015, the app was full of promise. It was one of the first to let anyone broadcast video of themselves live from anywhere in the world, using just a smartphone. It also let them interact with viewers through real-time comments and a little heart button used to express that you “liked” someone’s video. By the end of 2015, Apple iOS app of the year — and Twitter had a hit on its hands.
But three years later, Periscope is a shell of its former self. The internet celebrities who once dedicated much of their time to Periscope have mostly abandoned it, choosing to invest time into Facebook Live instead, or to quit streaming altogether. Those who have continued using the service have expressed frustrations with Twitter and its commitment to the community. Ask any Periscope user what its like in 2018, and you’ll hear wild stories about backstabbing, abandonment, and generally being mistreated by the community and company.
Now, Periscope is basically a wasteland of forgotten streamers, driven by the fame-obsessed personalities who refuse to let it go. Twitter has all-but-abandoned the app. The word “Periscope” was not even mentioned during Twitter’s 2017 earnings call on Thursday, when it reported profitability for the first time ever, nor was it said during the previous quarter’s call. The company hasn’t rolled out a significant update in years, other than a small monetization feature that debuted last June.
The last time Periscope was part of a major cultural moment was back in 2016, when Democrats used Periscope to promote their sit-in Congressional protest. Now, it seems the only conversations about the app are centered around its child pornography and bullying problem. But there is still a small group of dedicated users who enjoy using the app and yet still question its future.