New York, NY – Messaging app IRL has announced it will shut down after an investigation revealed that 95% of its claimed user base of 20 million monthly active users were either automated or from bots. The startup had raised $200 million from investors, including SoftBank’s Vision Fund and Founders Fund.
The investigation was prompted by scrutiny from The Information, which questioned IRL’s user number claims. The board of directors commissioned an independent investigation, which found that the company had inflated its user numbers by creating fake accounts and using bots to generate activity.
As a result of the investigation, IRL’s founder and CEO, Abraham Shafi, was suspended two months ago. The company has now announced that it will shut down and return capital to shareholders.
The shutdown of IRL is a major setback for the company, which had been seen as a promising upstart in the social media space. The company’s demise is a cautionary tale about the dangers of inflating user numbers, and it raises questions about the future of social media startups.
What are the implications of IRL’s shutdown for the future of social media?
The shutdown of IRL is a major setback for the company, but it also raises questions about the future of social media startups. The company’s demise is a cautionary tale about the dangers of inflating user numbers, and it could make investors more cautious about investing in social media startups.
It remains to be seen whether the shutdown of IRL will have a broader impact on the social media landscape. However, the company’s demise is a reminder that social media startups need to be transparent about their user numbers and avoid inflating their metrics.