Facebook has gone to great lengths to attract teenagers onto its platform as its user base has shifted more and more towards adults. In addition to copying many features from Snapchat, Facebook has tried to launch alternatives for many kinds of social media - Facebook Watch was created to compete with other video services like YouTube, and Lasso was its attempt at replicating Tik Tok, an app that grew in popularity among teens towards the end of 2018.
But the social networking giant isn't done trying, and its next bet is on a platform for memes and other funny content. TechCrunch reports that the service, called LOL, is currently being tested by a very small group of high school users in the United States. Facebook confirmed this in response to contact from the publication.
Some details of the service still aren't known, such as whether it will launch as a standalone app or a feature inside the main Facebook app. However, the concept is fairly clear already - it will aggregate content from "top meme pages" on Facebook in an interface that makes it easier to digest a large amount of content more easily. Ultimately, of course, the intent is to lure users to a more easily monetizable platform the short-burst Stories that are most popular among the younger audiences
Whether or not it succeeds is a whole other matter, however. Lasso, its previous attempt at capitalizing on a popular concept, saw just 10,000 downloads in 12 days, according to the report. And things aren't looking great for LOL, with sources familiar with its design saying that it's still "cringey". That shouldn't come as a surprise - if you're familiar with the meme community, you'll know that the content that makes its way to Facebook usually does so days or weeks after appearing on places such as Reddit and Twitter. Drawing content from those previously existing pages onto LOL probably won't be enough to make it more appealing. On the bright side, it looks like it's possible to upload videos to the platform without posting them to the News Feed, which could be an effective way to bring content to the service.
It's currently unclear when LOL will be available to the public, and its success is hard to predict. Facebook has been attempting to win back the attention of teens for some time now without much success, and though the concept of LOL is a valid one, the execution will be the key factor in making a successful platform.