“We put a bullet in that thing.”
That’s how Sean Parker fondly looks back at Wirehog. According to him and author David Kirkpatrick it was a side-project that Mark Zuckerberg found equally as interesting as Facebook itself. According to both of them, it was also the thing that almost killed Facebook.
The two made the revelation today on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York. Both were on the stage with our own Michael Arrington to talk about the state of Facebook, as well as Kirkpatrick’s new book about its history, The Facebook Effect.
So what was Wirehog? It was a peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing service that hooked up to Facebook. When it launched in 2004, it was Zuckerberg thinking ahead of his time, Parker says. It was an app that worked on top of Facebook. This was well before f8, before the Platform. It existed until early 2006 when, according to Kirkpatrick, it died “because Sean killed it.“
Parker, of course, had a history with file sharing services — he was one of the founders of Napster. About Wirehog, Parker says it was “a great idea, if it were legal.” “I had seen that movie before. We would have killed the baby in the cradle.”
You can read more about Wirehog on Wikipedia, or check out Kirkpartrick’s book when it goes on sale — he goes more into it.