Facebook is returning to its roots as a college-focused social network. The company today announced the launch of a new social media platform, Facebook Campus, which offers college students a personal place to connect with classmates, join groups, check out upcoming campus events, receive updates from their school administration, and connect with fellow students from their dorm. clubs or any other campus group, TechCrunch reports.
The new platform requires a school email address (@ .edu) and will be located in a dedicated section of the Facebook app. It will be available from the tab at the bottom of the screen or from the “More” menu next to such sections as “Dating”, “Games”, “News”, “Marketplace” and others.
“We wanted to create a product that made it easy for classmates to meet each other, build new relationships, and start conversations,” explains Facebook Campus Product Manager Charmaine Hung. “And we think Campus is more relevant now than ever. Due to COVID-19, we see many students not returning to campus in the fall. Now the lessons are online, and students are trying to respond to this new norm – to connect with clubs and organizations that you care about when you are not together, ”she added.
More broadly, Facebook probably wanted to solve its “teen problem,” and Facebook Campus is the solution.
According to reports, Facebook is losing influence with young people as the company has shifted its focus to other social apps like YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram. According to a 2018 Pew Research Center study, only 51% of US users between the ages of 13 and 17 said they used Facebook, compared with 71% who said the same in 2015. Meanwhile, a 2019 Edison Research poll found that Facebook has lost 15 million users since 2017, with the biggest decline in the 12- to 34-year-old group.
The Facebook Campus is designed to bring these users back by offering a more exclusive private networking site on Facebook. In a way, this is similar to Facebook’s work in meeting the needs of corporate users with the Facebook Workplace. Rather than being new ideas for social media, these platforms use existing Facebook technologies like news feed and groups to provide solutions for specific demographic groups.
At launch, Facebook Campus is only available at about 30 colleges and universities in the US, but the company plans to expand over time.
Students may be prompted to join campus via a tip in their news feed if Facebook has enough data to indicate they are likely attending a supported college. For example, if a Facebook user regularly visited a supported university’s Facebook page, the platform might show a request to sign up on the Facebook campus.
Aside from the .edu email address, the Facebook campus requires a graduation year – and it must be no more than five years after the present.
After registering, students create their profile on the Facebook campus. While this is linked on the back to the student’s main Facebook profile, it allows them to add college-specific details that won’t automatically appear anywhere else on Facebook. This is where campus users can add their graduation year, dormitory, major and minor classes they attend, hometown, Instagram profile, and more.
This information can only be viewed by other Facebook Campus users who attend the same school.
On the Facebook campus, students can also discover and join groups and events in their school. These groups and activities function essentially the same as on Facebook itself, except that they can only be accessed by students.
Facebook Campus also has its own private chat section that is separate from Facebook and Messenger. These group chats work a little differently since users don’t really need to search for and invite members. Instead, students in a specific group can join the associated chat if they want.
Facebook claims the solution helps reduce spam and allows users to focus their energies on interacting with the small communities in which they participate.
At the launch of the campus, Facebook will support the following universities and colleges: Benedict College; Brown University; California Institute of Technology; College of William and Mary; Duke University; Florida International University; Georgia Southern University; Georgia State University; Johns Hopkins University; Lane College; Lincoln University (Pennsylvania); Middlebury College; New Jersey Institute of Technology; Northwestern University; Rice University; Sarah Lawrence College; Scripps College; Smith College; Spelman College; Stephen F. Austin State University; Tufts University; Albany University – State University of New York; University of Hartford; University of Louisville; University of Pennsylvania; University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; Vassar College; Virginia Institute of Technology; Wellesley College; and Wesleyan University.