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Facebook is trying to channel some big “cool mom” energy with its latest move to bring back teen users with a feature called LOL, which will be centered around memes, TechCrunch first reported.
Facebook is still trying to figure out if LOL will be an app or added onto its current platform. The new feature will be divided into different categories titled “For You,” “Animals,” “Pranks,” and “Fails,” which will consist of “funny videos and GIF-like clips,” according to TechCrunch. The memes will come from other popular pages on Facebook or from its users who can upload or link to their own content they would like to see on the feature.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook has for months been testing LOL with about 100 students aged 14 to 18. The feed has replaced their “watch tab” on Facebook. The students received parental permission and signed non-disclosure agreements.
“We are running a small scale test and the concept is in the early stages right now,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to the Daily Dot.
As soon as a meme garners attraction, it is spread like wildfire on other social media platforms, such as Reddit, Twitter, Instagram. So one of the biggest problems for Facebook is that some of the content on LOL is older, meaning users may have already seen it, according to TechCrunch.
Josh Constine, a TechCrunch journalist who uncovered the secret new feature, posted a thread to Twitter with leaked images of what LOL currently looks like.
“Scandals, parents, & baby pics may have permanently scared teens away. Even if it has good ideas, Facebook’s brand haunts it ability to launch new products,” Constine wrote on Twitter.
Teens abandoned Facebook, so it recruited 100 high schoolers for focus groups to teach it how to build a meme browser. Here's what sources tell me about the cringey result…[THREAD] 1/ pic.twitter.com/7cNCjpwPk6
— Josh Constine (@JoshConstine) January 18, 2019
In another thread, the Atlantic journalist Taylor Lorenz shared her doubts about the new feature.
“Why any high schooler would log onto FB dot com to see weeks old memes in an (adult) curated Watch-like tab is beyond me,” Lorenz wrote on Twitter. “Also people want to see memes when they’re fresh, it’s not like a Hey, watch this old meme’s greatest hits.”
Why any high schooler would log onto FB dot com to see weeks old memes in an (adult) curated Watch-like tab is beyond me. Also people want to see memes when they're fresh, it's not like a Hey, watch this old meme's greatest hits https://t.co/io9MXCBTDK
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) January 18, 2019
Eilish O'Sullivan is an editorial intern for the Daily Dot studying journalism and government at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle and the Daily Texan.