Facebook Campus’ Debut
Facebook (FB) is launching a new part of its platform specifically for college students called Facebook Campus. The company hopes the service will be a way for students to socialize and discuss shared interests, classes, and activities—especially during a time when many are studying remotely. Facebook began in 2004 as a way for Ivy League students to connect, and this new project harkens back to the company’s early days.
The program is being piloted at 30 schools including Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, and Vassar College. Facebook hopes to roll it out more widely in 2021.
How it Works
With Facebook Campus, students will be able to make profiles that are separate from their regular Facebook profiles using a “.edu” email address. On a Campus profile, a student can share their major, their dorm, their extra-curricular activities, and other information that will help the platform connect them to others.
Once students create Campus profiles, they can see a newsfeed with information specifically related to their school. They can also join school-specific chat rooms and have access to directories. At least for the first phase of the program, students on Campus will only be able to interact with other users at their individual schools.
Facebook decided to make Campus ad-free, like Facebook Dating and Groups. However, the company will use data gathered from users’ activity on the platform to determine what kind of ads to show them in other places.
Keeping Younger Users on Facebook
Facebook has not built Instagram integration into the Campus pilot. This could be because the company wants to keep younger users engaged on its flagship platform.
In 2019, 62% of people between the ages of 12 and 34 were considered Facebook users, down from 79% in 2017. Many millennials and members of Gen Z are favoring Instagram and TikTok instead. Though Facebook owns Instagram, and recently launched Instagram Reels as a way to compete with TikTok, the company still wants to retain young people on its original social media channel, and sees Campus as a way to do that.
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