In its latest effort to stave off the steady flow of teens leaving its platform, Facebook has been building a dedicated space for users to discover memes and viral content.
The new platform, called LOL, is designed as a "special feed of funny videos and GIF-like clips" using content "pulled from News Feed posts by top meme Pages on Facebook," according to a new report from TechCrunch. Under each meme that appears in LOL, users can choose three reactions for the post: "Funny," "Alright," or "Not Funny."
LOL is currently in private beta and is being tested out by 100 high school students who got parental consent to participate and also signed non-disclosure agreements with Facebook, according to TechCrunch.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed in an email to Business Insider that it is working on the platform, saying: "We are running a small scale test and the concept is in the early stages right now."
However, those who have seen LOL told TechCrunch the design is "cringey" and misses the mark. LOL is apparently featuring content that is weeks old, and that has surely already been seen before by the meme-obsessed users who would actually use the platform.
From TechCrunch's screen grabs, LOL's design and features draw comparisons to Snapchat's Discover feed. Facebook's LOL includes section for themed content collections called "Dailies," which look pretty similar to curated clips Snapchat compiles for Discover. LOL also lets you filter your feed by category, including "Fails," "Pranks," "Savage," "Wait for It," "Celebs," and a personalized "For You" tab.
As it stands, LOL reportedly acts as a replacement for Facebook's Watch tab. But Facebook has yet to decide whether LOL will exist as a standalone app, or as a feature within the existing app, TechCrunch reports.
Facebook's increasing unpopularity among Generation Z has been well-documented, and experts say Facebook has been taken over by parents. Only 5% of teens chose Facebook as their preferred social media platform in a Piper Jaffray survey from Fall 2018, and almost 80% of surveyed teens chose either Instagram or Snapchat instead.
In response to its dwindling presence in teens' lives, Facebook has attempted to grow several features and spinoff apps. Facebook launched a standalone app in November called Lasso that's drawn comparisons to TikTok (and the late video app Vine), but the app has yet to take off like its competitors. Facebook also acquired the anonymous app tbh, which was popular among teens in late 2017, but closed down the app just eight months later. Other ventures include Hello, Slingshot, and Poke, but all have either shuttered or faded into virtual non-existence.
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