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MySpace clone SpaceHey is reviving the Y2K social media aesthetic

The site, made by an 18-year-old coder from Germany, has surpassed 200,000 users and offers an antidote to algorithmically-driven timelines

Customisable profiles, Top 8 Friends, algorithm-free browsing, and no intrusive targeted ads – these are all features of SpaceHey, the MySpace clone taking users on a nostalgia trip right back to the platform’s 2004 heyday. 

On November 11 SpaceHey surpassed 200,000 users, a strong indicator that a not insignificant number of internet users still pang for the halcyon days of social media, where posts were shown in chronological order, largely advert free, and data was at least partially protected (until MySpace Tom sold his creation to Rupert Murdoch in 2005).

“There is no suggested content begging for your attention,” brags the about page on SpaceHey, which was launched in 2020 by a now 19-year-old German coder Anton Röhm who goes by the name “An”. The page adds that the site provides a “retro social network focused on privacy and customisability. It’s a friendly place to have fun, meet friends, and be creative.”

It continues: “SpaceHey brings back all the things you missed most about Social Networks: Bulletins, Blogs, Forums, Instant Messages, and so much more! SpaceHey allows you to add custom HTML and CSS Code to your Profile to give you all the freedom you need to make your Profile truly your Space on the web. It has no algorithms, no tracking, and no personalised Ads  – you decide what you want to share and what content you’d like to view.”

The popularity of the retro social network site, which has preserved the minimal design aesthetic of early MySpace, comes shortly after Mark Zuckerberg’s rebranding of Facebook as ‘Meta’ to create a separate umbrella under which his social media empire – which includes Instagram and Whatsapp – can exist.

Facebook has been marred in controversy in recent years over its exploitative data policies, the increasingly unhinged antics of its creator, and now its intention to create a kind of perpetually online hell, designed to trap everyone in sterile VR conference rooms and tacky shopping centres for all eternity. 

Don’t worry though, you can still sign up to SpaceHey if you simply want a “safe space for you and your friends to hang out online.”