Friendster to delete users' content by May 31

Attention, Friendster users: You have until May 31 to save your account contents including photos, testimonials, and blogs —or else you'll lose them in the social network's upcoming major reformat.

Friendster, a pioneer social networking site launched in 2002, issued the warning as it prepares a "new and improved version" in the coming weeks.

"Your Friendster account will not be deleted. You will still have the same email login and password in the new Friendster. Also, your list of friends will be preserved, along with your basic profile information. However, all the photos, messages, comments, testimonials, shoutouts, blogs, forums and groups that you may have now will no longer be part of your account by May 31, 2011," it said in its help forum.

To be preserved are the user's list of friends, along with basic profile information, wallet, and games.

But to help the user save his or her account content, Friendster offered an application to help download or export photos and blogs securely to third party sites, such as Flickr or Multiply.

Dubbed the Friendster Exporter, the app will be rolled out gradually and is now available for users in Singapore.

Users in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia can expect the app to be available in a few days after April 14, it added.

It said that the app will be available to all Friendster users before the end of April 2011.

Relaunching Friendster

Friendster was acquired in December 2009 by MOL Global, the parent company of Asia’s leading online payment solutions provider MOL AccessPortal Berhad.

Friendster said that it and MOL have been combined to create Asia's largest end-to-end content, distribution and commerce network, pairing MOL's offline retail channel partners and payment platform with Friendster's large online footprint, social network and user community in Asia.

But MOL CEO Ganesh Bangah explained that the new Friendster aims not to compete with, but instead to complement, Facebook.

Complementing Facebook

He noted that, while Facebook is a site where people can communicate with and find out what their real-life friends are doing, Friendster will be the place where people can meet new friends and play games and enjoy music with them. The pioneering social network will continue to innovate and be at the forefront of the social networking scene, he said in an article on ZDNet Asia.

Friendster said that its "new and improved" version will be focused on entertainment and fun, and will have new features to better enable users to connect with friends or engage new friends with similar interests.

"Our improved site is designed to create new profiles that allow you to connect differently with people and do things differently than other networking sites. Basically, the new site will complement your existing online presence in other social networking sites," the company said.

Popular in Asia

A July 15, 2010 article in the Global Post said that, while Friendster lost users in the United States to MySpace and Facebook in the mid-2000s, the social network exploded in the Philippines, where nearly half of its userbase is located.

It said that Friendster later spread to Malaysia and Indonesia.

Now, roughly 80 percent of Friendster’s 116 million users live in Southeast Asia, the report said. — TJD, GMA News

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