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The homepage, circa 2007. Last night the site went down - possibly forever.

False alarm: Bebo isn't actually dead just yet

2005′s most popular social network appeared to go offline last night, but the site says its downtime is not permanent.

IT WAS THE first social network to truly grab Ireland’s attention – and at its peak was sold for a whopping $850 million – but it appears Bebo may be on its last legs.

The site appeared to go offline last night, with visitors to seeing their page requests timing out – and without even a formal error page appearing, users had feared the worst.

Logs of internet traffic bound to the site also appear to drop once traffic once they get towards Bebo’s servers, adding weight to the theory that the site is down for good.

News of the site’s apparent collapse – 18 months after the site was passed into new management – prompted Twitter to go into overdrive, with users posting their memories of the page using the #bebomemories hashtag.

It appears, however, that rumours of Bebo’s death have been mildly exaggerated: TechCrunch has been able to make contact with a spokesperson for the company who says the downtime is purely technological.

In his words, was down as a result of a “technical clusterf***” – and that the site would remain a going concern for some time, as it still had a niche audience in the UK.

The site’s original founder, Michael Birch – who had posted a tweet lamenting the passing of his old site – corrected himself within 15 minutes, to assert that Bebo would be back online “within hours”.

Birch founded the site with his wife Xochi in 2005, and sold it to AOL for $850 million in 2008, netting a personal fortune of close to $600 million.

Its purchasers failed to invest in the site to help it resist the advances of the younger Facebook, however, and AOL ultimately sold the site for just $10 million in June 2010.

The site was particularly popular with Irish users – at one point it claimed to have over a million Irish users, no mean feat in a country of Ireland’s size, and data from Alexa ranked it as Ireland most-visited site, even surpassing Google for popularity.

Nonetheless, the #bebomemories hashtag remains trending on Twitter, so here’s our collection of some of the best responses.

Keep sharing the luv, people.

False alarm: Bebo isn't actually dead just yet
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