Yahoo Groups is closing down - here’s what it means for users

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Web service provider Yahoo is to close its ill-fated social media platform, Yahoo Groups, in the coming weeks, as it has seen “a steady decline in usage” over the last several years.

Its closure means that users will no longer be able send or receive messages from their group members.

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"Thank you for helping us build one of the earliest digital communities - we’re proud and honoured to have forged countless connections over the last 20 years and played a small part in helping build your communities,” a statement from Yahoo said.

Here is what the closure means for Yahoo Groups users.

What is Yahoo Groups?

Yahoo Groups is Yahoo’s free-to-use system of electronic mailing lists and forums, first launched in January 2001

It was once home to one of the world's largest collections of online discussion boards, and allowed members to subscribe to groups, read discussions, view and share photos, files and bookmarks within a group, and receive emails.

At the height of its popularity in 2008, Yahoo Group staff reported there were 113 million users, and nine million Groups using 22 languages.

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The service first began its partial shutdown in February of this year, when Yahoo removed online access to discussions and all other features, except simple membership management, essentially turning all groups into mailing lists.

The service stirred up controversy in 2013, when a Reuters article claimed Yahoo Groups was being used illegally and without regulation by parents to advertise unwanted children for "private re-homing.”

In response, Yahoo immediately closed down the forums that Reuters brought to their attention.

When is Yahoo Groups closing?

The creation of new groups has already been disabled by Yahoo, with the company putting a stop to the feature on 12 October.

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The ‘full’ shutdown of Yahoo Groups will take place on 15 December 2020.

What does the shutdown mean for users?

After 15 December, users will no longer be able to send and receive emails from Yahoo Groups. The website will also no longer be accessible.

The emails you have sent and received will remain in your email inbox, though, as of 15 December, messages will not be sent or received from your group members.

If you try to email your group after that date, your message will not be delivered and you will receive a failure notification.

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Yahoo has recommended a number of “reliable sites” for its “loyal customers” to use to “continue having group communications.”

Will my Yahoo Mail account be affected?

Yahoo is assuring users that the only thing being decommissioned is Yahoo Groups and emails sent from Yahoo Groups.

"Yahoo Mail will continue to function normally,” it says.

Why is Yahoo Groups closing?

Yahoo said it had made the decision to shut down Groups following “a steady decline in usage over the last several years.”

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"While these decisions are never easy, we must sometimes make difficult decisions regarding products that no longer fit our long-term strategy as we hone our focus on other areas of the business,” the company added.

For more information on Yahoo Groups closure, head to Yahoo’s blog page

A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title, the Scotsman

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