Speed Reads

future of facebook

Facebook tried to gauge whether they could encourage kids to use its products on playdates

Facebook is feeling the pressure when it comes to the next generation, and it has spent the last few years trying to find ways to engage with preteens and children, despite not allowing anyone under the age of 12 to use its site directly, the latest entry in a Wall Street Journal investigation into the tech giant reveals.

Internal documents reviewed by the Journal reveal that Facebook considers preteens "a valuable but untapped audience," and the company seems aware that it's facing the rise of other social media platforms like Snapchat and, more recently, TikTok. So, over the past five years it has been making "big bets" on designing products that could appeal to a younger audience, an effort sure to be scrutinized given concerns about children's safety and privacy on social media.

At one point in 2019, a Facebook team even conducted interviews with children to gauge whether they could encourage them to use the Messenger Kids app while hanging out with each other in-person, resulting in an internal presentation titled "Exploring playdates as a growth lever." The takeaway was that most kids did not use the app when spending time with their friends in person, and it also noted that parents weren't sold on the idea, likely because they hoped a playdate would actually be a chance to escape from their screens. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.