Facebook Acquisition Of Hot Potato Now Official

Brooklyn-based start-up Hot Potato has confirmed its acquisition by Facebook in a blog postand warned users it would soon be winding down the site. The news was expected – we’ve previously reported that the acquisition took place earlier this summer for around $10 million.

The blog post says: “This wasn’t an easy decision, especially since we’ve built up a base of dedicated users. If Hot Potato was going to sell to anyone, Facebook was the natural choice. Facebook is still small, moves fast, provides a great supportive environment for people to be entrepreneurial, and most importantly, Facebook builds great products. We’re looking forward to joining their team.”

Hot Potato is closing up shop in about a month from now. The blog post says that all user data will be deleted at that time and not retained by Facebook. The site is no longer be accepting new user registrations and is offering existing users a way to download their history at: http://hotpotato.com/dashboard/history.

Hot Potato offered check-in services, not only for events and places in the physical world but also for virtual events. For example, if you recorded that you were watching Lost then the site would find other people watching Lost and create an event for you. I would guess that Facebook would be using Hot Potato functionality in its new Places service, though the Mark Zuckerberg and his team said at the launch last week that you would not be able to use Places to check in to virtual events, or not yet at any rate.

It’s understood Hot Potato founder Justin Shaffer will be moving to Facebook’s Palo Alto’s headquarters so the acquisition is also a hire. It’s unclear if he is the only one. As early Facebook employees leave the company, this is one way that the company can retain its entrepreneurial start-up style culture.

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