Facebook is shutting down its internal R&D division, Creative Labs which was launched in 2013. However, like many startups, the products emerging from the Creative Labs incubator had trouble finding traction and success.
Along with Creative Labs, Facebook is also pulling several of its below par under-performing apps, including photo-sharing app Slingshot, anonymous chat app Rooms, and collaborative video app Riff.
All three apps were notable efforts at first offering a different experience for Facebook users outside of the social network. ‘Rooms’ was one app that generated a lot of buzz at the time of launch because it was a way to network without having to share your real name.
The problem with Facebook’s Creative Labs’ apps is that it’s hard to find an audience without promoting the apps in some way, such as via advertisements, paid user acquisition efforts, marketing efforts, or heavy media attention. But Facebook didn’t leverage its ability to reach over a billion users in order to drive installs for many of these apps, allowing them to win or lose on their own merits. (Moments is a recent exception to this rule – Facebook even promoted the app above users’ News Feeds.)
Despite the shutdown of Creative Labs, Facebook says it will still innovate with new applications, and will continue to support apps like Facebook Paper, as well as the newer spinoffs from Facebook-owned Instagram, like Layout and Hyperlapse. Slingshot and Riff have already been removed from the respective app stores, but will still work for users who have the downloaded and installed versions. Rooms will shut down on December 23, at which point you’ll no longer be able to post in the app.