Facebook launches Lifestage app for school teens

In a constant attempt to innovate and gain a younger audience, Facebook is directly taking on the rival social media platform, Snapchat by launching a video-sharing mobile app aimed at teenagers.

Those who use the Lifestage app can create profiles based on shared pictures and videos according to their feelings, likes and dislikes. The app’s description says that Lifestage makes it fun and easy to share a visual profile with your school community. Once more than 20 members have registered to a school, students can then access other students’ profiles from their own school and those nearby too.

According to Statista, only 8% of Facebooks US users are aged 13-19, emphasising why Facebook have been keen to highlight that the app is designed for a younger audience. The app is geared towards users aged 21 and younger; past this age you will no longer be able to view others profiles apart from your own. Currently there are no messaging features or one-to-one interactions in the app, which emphasises more safety and reduces the risk of issues with bullying and inappropriate content being shared privately.

However, privacy concerns have been sparked as Lifestage warns that: “All Lifestage posts remain public and accessible by everybody, inside and outside your school. You cannot limit the audience of your videos and we cannot confirm that those who claim to go to a certain school actually go to that school. Everything you share on your profile is fully public content.” However, users can be reported and blocked if they are thought to be stalking students on the app.

The launch of Snapchat rival, Lifestage, was created and led by Facebook’s 19-year-old product manager, Michael Sayman. Michael commented that he wanted to work on an app that his demographic would relate to and his friends would want to use. In a Facebook post Michael wrote that the app was based around the original social network’s early days, when it was meant for use by university students only.

Michael said that back in 2004, Facebook was all about ‘who I am’ and expressing yourself. You could share your relationship status, your favourite music. Today, as Facebook has grown into so much more, the opportunity to explore that concept of ‘who I am’ has risen once again, but this time, for Generation Z.

Currently, the app is only available in the US on Apple devices, with a UK release to follow.

The question is, will teens actually use the app? Or will they stick to the already popular Snapchat?

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