Facebook tests teen-focused video meme feed
- Facebook is testing a feed of funny videos, GIF-like clips and memes called "LOL," TechCrunch reported. The social network doesn't have any plans to roll out LOL in its Watch video hub, and is deciding whether to make it a separate feature in Facebook or a standalone app.
- LOL shows carousels of collections under headings like "Dailies" or "For You," which are algorithmically curated clips based on a user's individual interests. Users can sort through the feed using tabs labeled "Random," "Memes," "Gaming," "Celebs," "School" and "Stand-Up," among others. Users who open a Dailies collection or look at the feed see a theater mode that auto-advances to the next piece of content.
- Users can respond to the clips with reactions such as "Funny," "All Right" or Not Funny." LOL also lets users share content, upload videos or paste in a URL to submit videos. Facebook is testing LOL with high school students in a focus group to determine the platform's stickiness, TechCrunch reported.
LOL is Facebook's latest effort to lure teens who are more likely to view viral images and videos on Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube or TikTok than on Facebook. It follows Facebook Watch, Lasso and IGTV, which haven't yet become hits among teens, following duds like Poke, Slingshot, TBH and Lifestage. Just 28% of U.S. teens reported using Facebook, down from more than 40% two years ago, and only 5% call it their favorite social media platform, according to Piper Jaffray's annual teen survey.
The development of another News Feed-like product comes as teens have been abandoning Facebook for platforms like Instagram and Snapchat that offer Stories features. As TechCrunch notes, the company has had less success monetizing Stories than its core News Feed, and its inability to capture and advertise to younger audiences could cause major revenue issues down the line for the social media giant.
However, Facebook needs to be cautious about how it proceeds with creating new apps and services, especially with finicky teen audiences. Its focus-group testing for LOL is described by TechCrunch's sources as a "cringey" attempt to appeal to teens, which could land LOL on the scrap heap with its other teen-focused products. Teens have notoriously fickle tastes, which means hot trends can prove to be short-lived. Instagram, which Facebook owns, is still hugely popular among teens worldwide, which means Facebook shouldn't panic just yet. The company could use the image-sharing platform in the future to promote other apps or new services like LOL.
Along with developing another feed in LOL, Facebook is also playing catch-up in the Stories space. In September, the company made ads in its Stories feature available to advertisers around the world, giving paid sponsors an opportunity to reach the 62% of people who said they became more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories, according to Ipsos.
- TechCrunch Facebook is secretly building LOL, a cringey teen meme hub
- Pew Research Center Teens and their experiences on social media