Statistics show that Facebook is incredibly unpopular with teenagers, who prefer Snapchat. Facebook is viewed by Gen Z as the social network for the previous generation. In other words, it’s the one your parents and grandparents all use.
Despite this, Facebook has launched what it’s calling a “Youth Portal”. This is designed to be a one-stop shop where teenagers can find out all about Facebook. And if that hasn’t already sold you then perhaps these new-fangled things called GIFs and emojis will.
Facebook Gets Down With the Youth
Facebook states that its Youth Portal is a “guide to all things Facebook: general tips, insider tricks, privacy and safety information, and everything else you need to have a great experience on Facebook.” As long as you’re over 13, obviously.
In creating its Youth Portal, Facebook “spoke with groups of teens in the UK, Italy, the US and Brazil”. Who helped Facebook create a “space for you to hear from people your age, in their own voices, about the issues that matter to them online.”
The Facebook Youth Portal and our Ongoing Work with Teens https://t.co/uuJFwgQKwM
— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) May 15, 2018
The result is a boring and preachy (and ultimately quite thin) set of pages detailing the key components of Facebook. There are guides to ensuring your security and sharing mindfully, and tips to help youngsters learn to use social media.
And this is the biggest problem with Facebook’s Youth Portal: it’s preaching to the converted. The rules for using Facebook responsibly are no different than the rules for Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Twitter. And kids already know the rules.
Made For Anyone Other Than the Youth
Bless Facebook for trying. It’s better than not trying. Marginally. However, spending just a few minutes on Facebook’s Youth Portal makes it clear this is aimed at anyone other than “youths”. Whether that’s parents, shareholders, or lawmakers.
Given the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Mark Zuckerberg’s android-like appearance before Congress that followed, Facebook needs to do everything it can to fix its tattered public image. And the Youth Portal is someone’s idea of a good start.