Facebook wants to revisit its college days with a new students-only club that requires a university email address to access, just like “The Facebook” when it appeared on the campus of Harvard University in 2004.
“Facebook was a college-only network, and now we’re returning to our roots,” Facebook said in its announcement of the launch of "Facebook Campus" on Thursday.
The Campus section has a unique, college-focused News Feed, too. While there are no ads, it’s unlikely to remain ad-free. As with everything Facebook, Campus is also a potential source of consumer insights and data that will affect what ads the students see on other parts of the platform. “As with other Facebook products, we may use your activity from Facebook Campus to personalize your experience on our apps to show you more relevant content, including ads,” Facebook notes under its terms and conditions.
Facebook Campus is an obvious attempt for the social network to spark renewed attention from younger internet users who might be more interested in Instagram, which Facebook owns, or younger-skewing apps including Snapchat and TikTok.
Even Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said that her own children, who are approaching college age, don’t even have Facebook accounts. On Wednesday, Sandberg joked about her household’s internet habits during an interview video at The Information’s 2020 WTF Summit. “My own kids are much more on TikTok than they are on Instagram,” Sandberg said. “They don’t even have a Facebook page.”