Hey all you sexy young couples, I have bad news. Meta’s relationship-focused communication app Tuned is officially being shut down on September 19. Or, if you’re like me and 1) are single and/or 2) have never heard of this app, September 19 will just be another Monday.
Tuned is a Meta product that was released during the very beginning of the covid-19 pandemic in April 2020, when staying in touch with someone you love was either really easy if you were quarantined with them, or really difficult if you were quarantined without them. While the app’s release towards the beginning of the pandemic is likely coincidence (apps take time to develop), its structure of getting couples to communicate over quirky prompts and a kitschy interface could not have come at a better time. But now, just over two years later, the app is shutting down on September 19.
Meta’s New Product Experimentation communication team told us in an email that, “Tuned is an experimental app from NPE. In the spirit of experimentation and similarly to previous apps, we try a lot of things, learn, and if our tests aren’t sticking, shut it down.”
I tried to experiment with Tuned to write this article, but upon entering my phone number to sign up, I was greeted with an error message. It turns out Tuned is no longer accepting new users as it begins to wind down its services. According to Gadget360, the app is “a private space where you and your significant other can just be yourselves. With Tuned, you can be as mushy, quirky, and silly as you are together in person, even when you’re apart.”
Meta appears to be going through a bit of a tough time, and it’s possible that axing Tuned is a part of a wider effort for the company save money and pivot away from social media. Meta has endured recent chatter of a hiring slowdown and impending layoffs: Leaked documents from executives instructed managers to cut underperforming employees under the guise that “they are not who we need,” and Meta employees are now reportedly concerned about a rumored layoff of up to 10% the company’s workforce.
Meta is also making a clear effort to distance itself from its “Facebook” days of social media amidst regulatory pressure and public scrutiny with a hair-brained scheme to rebrand itself into a VR juggernaut. But we all know how the Metaverse is going.
Tuned shutting down is likely a bummer for the handful of couples that are still using the gimmicky app two years after it launched, but it could also be a symptom of a larger, internal company restructuring.
Update July 26, 3:40 p.m. ET: This article was updated to include additional comment from Meta’s New Product Experimentation team.