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Twitter swoops in to keep Twitpic’s archives online

If you’ve missed the recent Twitpic hullabaloo, the third-party Twitter image host — one of the biggest in operation — has been threatened with closure since April, when Twitter challenged it with a trademark complaint. First it was shutting, then it wasn’t, and now it finally is, although Twitter has agreed to keep its archives online for the time being.

The social media landscape and Twitter itself has changed a lot since Twitpic first launched nearly seven years ago: Third-party clients and tools have largely been elbowed out by Twitter as it looks to control the user experience (and the accompanying advertising) across the Web and mobile. The writing has been on the wall since last year when Twitter began showing thumbnails of photos uploaded natively while only linking to content hosted by services such as Instagram and Twitpic.

Related: Twitter’s war on third party developers continues

“We weren’t able to find a way to keep Twitpic independent,” writes founder Noah Everett in the app’s final blog post. “However, I’m happy to announce that we have reached an agreement with Twitter to give them the Twitpic domain and photo archive, thus keeping the photos and links alive for the time being. Twitter shares our goal of protecting our users and this data. Also, since Twitpic’s user base consists of Twitter users, it makes sense to keep this data with Twitter.”

From this point on new photos will not be accepted by the platform, though you can still log in to delete or export images if you already have an account. The Twitpic mobile apps are being pulled too and will no longer be supported. Twitpic is a throwback to an older time when apps and extensions thrived on top of Twitter — but the social network is now far more controlling of its platform than it used to be.

Twitpic announced it had found a mystery buyer last month before the deal fell through over the terms of the agreement, but the new arrangement with Twitter seems like the most logical conclusion. Even if another Twitter add-on has to bite the dust, at least the images remain.