Blast from the past: Facebook goes back to 2004 model to attract teens

  • Anirban Ghoshal, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 22, 2016 10:31 IST
According to a report in (Lifestage via Verge)

Facebook ain’t cool no more! Thats right because the Mark Zuckerberg-founded social network has been losing its sheen against newer platforms like Snapchat. But it has not given up yet.

It has developed a new iOS app, called Lifestage, for people who are 21 and under. The video diary-like app makes the user answer biographical questions via a video instead of filling in answers with text. And everytime someone updates their video, it lands up on the feed prompting other users to check it out.

According to a report in Tech Crunch , the app was designed by 19-year-old wunderkind Michael Sayman, a Facebook product manager who said that he wanted to replicate the ready-made virality of Facebook’s earliest days, when it was restricted to college students. That means that while using Lifestage the user might need an appropriate .edu email address. One might be able to sign up if they are older but will not have the ability to communicate.

Sayman also said that he hopes Lifestage can grow by attaching itself to local high schools, not unlike Facebook’s college-by-college approach back in 2004. The app allows users to select his or her school but there is a catch here too. If only more than 20 people from the same school sign up, then only users will be able to communicate.

However, it is still unclear how the app will stop people older than 21 from signing up. Lifestage has no way to confirm if the user who claim to be enrolled in a high school are actually studying there. But the app restricts you the user to one school and doesn’t allow to change. It also appears to have liberal blocking and reporting features, to keep parents, creeps, and other unwanted outsiders from detracting from the experience.

Earlier this month, Facebook-owned Instagram launched a clone of Snapchat’s Stories feature with its very own Instagram Stories. And before that, Facebook tried launching numerous apps like Slingshot, Riff, and Poke to try and peel away Snapchat’s user base. None of those products caught on, and Facebook shuttered the last of them late last year.

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