Tuenti says goodbye forever. The popular social network that triumphed among millennials fifteen years ago has definitively disappeared after Telefónica, its owner, decided last week to eliminate the brand. Since 2016, it has operated solely as a low-cost telephone service.
"We have decided to unify Tuenti and O2 to offer all customers the best we can offer through a single brand, O2," the company says on its website. Group sources do not want to give more details about the decision. A statement from the CCOO union has emerged. which ensures that the definitive cessation will take place on June 1, the deadline for the migration of clients to O2.
So in less than a month, what was once the Spanish Facebook will come to an end. The decision has not caught anyone by surprise. The truth is that Tuenti ceased to be relevant at the beginning of the last decade. "The strong competition from the giants of Facebook and Instagram did a lot of damage, but it also sank the lack of strategic vision from Telefónica, which since it acquired the social network in 2010 has never taken its future seriously," says Enrique San Juan, consultant specialized in social networks and director of Community Internet.
The fact of being part of a giant like Telefónica, says San Juan, caused Tuenti to be overshadowed by the rest of the company's divisions. Also when she became a telephone operator. Movistar has always enjoyed great prominence, and the launch of O2, a more modern brand than Tuenti and which also offered adjusted prices, did it no favors. When Tuenti stopped offering fiber optics in 2020, the beginning of the end was already beginning to be perceived.
In the memory remain the years in which the social network achieved ten million active users per month, up to 15 million registered, according to data shared by the same company at the beginning of the previous decade. These are remarkable figures if they were compared with the current four million registered users of Twitter in Spain, or the 20 and 22 million of Instagram and Facebook, respectively.
The key to success was the time of arrival in 2006, two years before the landing of Facebook in Spain. The business idea came from the entrepreneur Zaryn Dentzel (California, 1983), who settled in the country with a proposal very similar to the one offered by Mark Zuckerberg in the United States. “Tuenti was a lot like Facebook. The name meant 'Your identity' although it was soon associated with the number 20 in English, the age of the user he wanted to seduce."
San Juan recalls that the only differential aspect was the restricted access based on invitations. “That attracted many teenagers because they could avoid being spied on by their parents. In fact, Tuenti was especially popular among young people between 15 and 20 years old”, he points out.
The company, based in Madrid, grew to 250 workers and reached a turnover of ten million, mainly from advertising revenue. Its success was such that in 2010, the high number of users caught the interest of Telefónica. The group put 70 million euros on the table to take 85% of the property (it later bought the remaining 15%). It was an offer that Dentzel – and the rest of the co-founders: Félix Ruiz, Joaquín Ayuso and Adeyemi Ajao – could not refuse.
After the operation, Dentzel continued his career promoting real estate developments and a VTC company, called Auro. Tuenti, on the other hand, began the path towards its own decline.