Toronto’s Bunz Facebook Group to Stop Taking Members, Push App

  • Founders are working to transfer community over to mobile app
  • Facebook group has become a hub for Toronto’s downtown crowd

Emily Bitze, founder of Bunz, works in the company's office in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Oct. 19. 2016.

Photographer: Mark Sommerfeld/Bloomberg

Toronto’s favorite online hangout will stop taking new members as the founders of the Bunz Trading Zone Facebook group focus their efforts into building a standalone app.

Bunz, a sprawling, vibrant online community that spans dozens of Facebook groups and a mobile application, will stop accepting new members in its core group on Feb. 1, according to a memo posted on Facebook. The Bunz Trading Zone group has nearly 60,000 members and is a hub for selling old products, gossip and community news for urban Toronto.

The move is part of an ongoing effort by the group’s founders to capture the spirit of the Facebook community and transfer it to an application that isn’t constrained by the social website’s limitations. The app has been around for more than a year and has grown to have more users than the core Facebook group. It also opens up the possibility of building a money-making business and growing to other cities.

“We simply can’t do both,” the founders wrote. “It has been a wonderful as well as a difficult task, but a difficult decision had to be made.”

Bunz will release an updated app that brings the core Facebook groups into the fold by providing special “zones” for house-hunting and general advice, in addition to the existing bartering capability.

A spokeswoman for Bunz declined to comment.

Bunz started as a Facebook group for Torontonians to help each other out by bartering what they had for what they needed. The community grew rapidly and spawned dozens of spinoff groups, where members could find anything from books and furniture to old 8-track tapes and human teeth.

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