Facebook is closing down Campus, a component of its program aimed at college students, less than two years after its launch, the latest setback to the company’s efforts to retain younger users. Campus users could receive a customized news feed and participate in college-themed groups, activities, and chat rooms. It also had a directory where users could search for and friend other students on the app.
“We’ve chosen to stop our Facebook Campus pilot,” stated Facebook spokesperson Leah Luchetti in an email to The Verge. “We learned a lot about the best ways to serve college students, and Facebook Groups are one of the most effective tools for bringing them together.”
We’ve informed students at the test schools that Campus would no longer be available, and we’ve recommended relevant college Facebook groups for them to join.”
Luchetti went on to say that all Campus profiles, groups, postings, events, and other content would be permanently removed. Users can download their Campus data before the area becomes offline on March 10th.
Campus, which will be launched in September 2020, was first piloted with 30 US schools, each of which was siloed so that users could only communicate with other students at their school. It was separated from the main Facebook app, allowing users to establish distinct Campus profiles from their main Facebook profiles. Facebook Campus eventually grew to include 60 colleges and institutions, and as TechCrunch reported in January, the firm was announcing plans to add more campuses.
Of course, Facebook began on a college campus: Mark Zuckerberg and three classmates established the site — first known as TheFacebook — at Harvard and initially limited it to Harvard students only.
However, in recent years, Facebook, which is now owned by Meta, has failed to attract and maintain younger users. According to internal documents published last year, the number of teen users of the primary “big blue” app has dropped by 13% since 2019, with the figure expected to fall further. According to the company’s research, younger consumers used the app far less frequently than their older counterparts.