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Meta Announces the Closure of Facebook Campus, its School-Aligned Social Network Experiment



Meta Announces the Closure of Facebook Campus, its School-Aligned Social Network Experiment

While it was interesting to see Zuckerberg getting back to his college roots, it comes as little surprise to report that Meta has now decided to shut down its ‘Campus’ internal school network experiment.

Originally launched in September 2020, Campus was essentially designed to function in a similar fashion to Facebook Workplace, with separate, enclosed Facebook networks for each college campus, enabling better connection and community-building among students.

Membership to each campus network was only available to those with a verified college email address, and the idea was to create a social space for students to help keep them socially engaged, particularly during the pandemic.

But evidently, it hasn’t caught on as Meta might have hoped.

As explained by Meta (via TechCrunch)

“We’ve decided to end our pilot of Facebook Campus. We learned a lot about the best ways to support college students, and one of the most effective tools to help bring them together is Facebook Groups. We’ve notified students in the test schools that Campus will no longer be available, and have suggested relevant college Facebook groups for them to join.”

Those who have signed up to Campus are also now seeing this notification in the app:

As noted, the closure is no big surprise, given that students already have a range of options to connect in various social apps, including dedicated Facebook Groups, while the fact that Campus is part of Facebook, which doesn’t have a great reputation for privacy, may have also played a part in its limited take-up.

According to TechCrunch, Campus has been made available in 204 US colleges and universities in total.

The closure will likely have limited overall impact on Facebook engagement, but it is interesting to note, in a broader context, how this aligns with Meta’s narrowing focus as it looks to the next stage of social connection.

Facebook has shut down almost all of its app experiments, which had been launched by its New Product Experimentation (NPE) team over the past few years, while it’s also now re-aligned the NPE team around a new goal of building for and with communities that have “historically been overlooked, underestimated, and undervalued by our industry”.  

“We’re expanding from our current US footprint to build with and for communities across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and scaling what works there across the globe. We need to be more intentional about building with proximity to how the world looks today, and how it’s going to look tomorrow. In time, this is how we’ll learn to identify universal experiences.”

The NPE team will subsequently be less focused on trends (i.e. identifying the next TikTok or Snapchat before it can gain traction) and more on understanding different communities, and the uses of social apps, and creating new economic opportunities in developing regions.

It seems that Meta is moving on from challenger mitigation, in line with its metaverse shift, which really is the big focus, in developing new apps and experiences that can tie into the next stage, as opposed to stemming the flow of users away to other apps.

In some ways, that could be seen as a concession, with apps like Snapchat and TikTok already gaining a foothold in its key market, and reducing its overall presence. But then again, Meta’s reach is unmatched, and with Facebook usage declining in developed markets, maybe now it makes more sense for Meta to focus on new uses, in new regions, as it looks to play a more significant role in the framework of the digital transformation in these nations.

Which will then enable it to connect more people into its metaverse experiences, and shift away from traditional apps.

That, overall, seems like the biggest impetus, re-aligning its development focus on the next stage, as opposed to tracking app trends and trying to beat out emerging players in the market.

Because the market itself is about to change, and within that, apps like Campus just won’t matter as much in broader context.

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Parler Announces That it’s Terminated its Acquisition Deal with Kanye West



Kanye West is Buying Conservative Social Media Platform Parler to Voice His Unfiltered Opinions

Kanye West will not follow in Elon Musk’s footsteps and buy his own social media platform, with Parler confirming today that it has ended negotiations with West on a possible sale of the app.

The reasoning behind the decision is not clear, but West has continued to share his controversial opinions in various media opportunities of late, which has resulted in him losing a range of sponsor and partnership deals, and has decimated his net worth.

Axios has reported that West’s financial situation, as a result of these impacts, has played at least some role in the dissolution of the Parler deal.

West originally announced his intention to acquire Parler back in October, saying at the time that he needed to buy his own platform in order to share his unfiltered opinions with the world.

People had talked about it and mentioned this idea for years, but enough was enough.”

In the weeks leading up to that announcement, West had been suspended from both Instagram and Twitter after deliberately pushing his limits on both by sharing offensive, anti-Semitic remarks. That then led West to Parler, and with Elon Musk moving to take over at Twitter, West saw an opportunity to also play a part in what he saw as a broader shift towards allowing more free and open speech.

But now, West is moving on – though he will continue with his 2024 Presidential run, apparently.

West has also seemingly pinned his hopes on Musk for a future reformation of social media moderation rules.

At least, I think that’s what this means.

The announcement leaves Parler in a less than certain predicament, as it continues its efforts to develop a more sustainable business model in order to maintain operation as a free speech platform.

In the wake of the Capitol Riots, Parler was almost killed off entirely when both Apple and Google removed the app from their respective stores due its lax moderation policies, which they said had allowed too many posts that encouraged violence and crime. Amazon then also refused to host Parler on its web-hosting service due to repeated violations of its rules.

Parler was eventually able to save itself by rolling out additional moderation rules, in alignment with the requirements of each platform, which subsequently caused a level of angst among its core user base. Parler has since been found to be censoring certain posts, and removing certain users, which has prompted further criticism of the app, and with Elon taking over at Twitter, and promising a more open approach to what can be shared via tweet, it seems like Parler’s days could indeed be numbered, especially if Musk is able to implement a significant change in Twitter’s approach.

Which will also be challenging. Just as Parler had to change its moderation approach in line with app store policies, Twitter will also have to maintain its processes on the same, which could impede Musk’s push to enable more free and open speech in the app.

Elon’s looking to challenge this, but again, there will always be a level of moderation required, which will likely always exceed what free speech advocates would prefer, given evolving rules in Europe and other regions.

And for Kanye, it seems like his ambitions for owning his own social platform are now shelved, at least for the time being.

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