Facebook is launching a new spin-off app meant to keep college kids connected through the internet. Called Facebook Campus, the application is a “college-only” space, made exclusively for current college students. Sound familiar?
The launch of Facebook Campus is a direct result of COVID-19 pandemic self-isolation measures that have kept many universities and colleges across the United States closed to in-person activities for the foreseeable future.
“Students across the country are facing new challenges as some campuses shift to partial or full-time remote learning, so it’s more important than ever to find a way to stay connected to college life,” writes Charmaine Hung, Facebook Campus’ product manager. “We’re returning to our roots with Facebook Campus to help students make and maintain these relationships, even if they’re away from college.”
So, yes: Facebook is launching 2004-era Facebook. This time around Facebook’s college connectivity site looks a little different than it did back then, though.
You’ll need a .edu email for entry — Where the original Facebook was only open to those with invites at Harvard, the new Facebook Campus is open to just about any college student around the world. All you need to get started is a .edu email address, which just about every college and university provides to students upon matriculation.
Technically, this opens Facebook Campus up to many people who are not currently college students. Alumni often hold onto their .edu email addresses long after graduation, and faculty and staff are often given university-official email addresses as well. Facebook Campus does ask for your graduation year — but that’s not confirmed in any way. The company says that, after graduation, it will allow alumni to stay on, though it will also suggest they leave with a notification.
Another app-within-an-app — Facebook isn’t releasing a standalone application or website for Facebook Campus. Instead, users can access the Campus app within the main Facebook application.
There’s a campus-only News Feed, where you’ll only see posts from other students at your college, and a campus directory of everyone who’s signed up. Users will also be able to create events and groups specific to their college and open up chat rooms for specific college groups.
Most of a person’s Facebook profile is not carried over to their Campus profile, save for users that person has blocked, which will also carry over to Campus. This is similar to the way Facebook’s Workplace application works.
Like most of Facebook’s new products, the relative success or failure of Facebook Campus will ultimately be decided by its users. Facebook has long been used for college groups and communications — no special application necessary. It will be interesting to see whether or not students find Facebook Campus intriguing enough to log in and try it out.
For now, Campus is only launching for 30 colleges and universities across the U.S. — and no, Harvard is not included.