Facebook is currently testing out a new app that they hope will increase their teenage demographic, the Verge is reporting. This new app is said to be entitled “LOL” and will provide the latest GIFs and memes, sorted by categories like “pranks” and “animals.” They are currently testing the new app with 100 high school students, with the consent of their parents, to see if this could be the way to bring back teenagers to the platform.
It appears that it will be similar to Snapchat’s “Discover” feature, that algorithmically curates clips that users can scroll through that provides “share” and “react” buttons underneath. Instagram Story also has the same “toggle” feature that allows you to swipe through your feed. Allegedly, teenagers will be able to swipe through a feed of memes and GIFs specifically targeted toward them with the new LOL app.
This new app is said to be a replacement for Facebook Watch, which reportedly did not pan out at as well as Facebook had initially hoped. Facebook Watch features videos that can be user-generated as well as professionally done, with contributions from news organizations, entertainment companies, and even exclusive shows that Facebook ordered. A lot of information about the LOL app, such as if it will be part of Facebook, or stand on its own, is still unclear.
“We are running a small-scale test and the concept is in the early stages right now,” a Facebook spokesperson confirmed.
While Facebook has had many failed attempts when it comes to appealing to younger audiences, they can at least take solace in the massive success of Instagram, which Facebook owns. Many younger users had left Facebook for Snapchat, but then Instagram adapted Snapchat’s ideas to be bigger and better. Still, Facebook is struggling to make their primary site seem appealing to advertisers due to the lack of teenagers frequenting the platform. While the LOL app is still in the testing process, Facebook is still looking to other apps for ideas on how to raise their teenage demographic.
One example is the app, Houseparty, which is a group video chat app that teenagers are going crazy over. Facebook has attempted to adapt the same concept to their brand, creating the app, Bonfire. Facebook also has its own version of the popular app, TikTok, that can create short clips and videos that often go viral as memes. The Facebook equivalent was dubbed, “Lasso.”