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Facebook is secretly building LOL, a cringey teen meme hub

How do you do, fellow kids? After Facebook Watch, Lasso, and IGTV failed to become hits with teens, the company has been quietly developing another youthful video product. Multiple sources confirm that Facebook has spent months building LOL, a special feed of funny videos and GIF-like clips. Its divided into categories like For You, Animals, Fails, Pranks and more with content pulled from News Feed posts by top meme Pages on Facebook. LOL is currently in private beta with around 100 high school students who signed non-disclosure agreements with parental consent.
Facebook is secretly building LOL, a cringey teen meme hub

In response to TechCrunchs questioning, Facebook confirmed it is privately testing LOL as a home for funny meme content with a very small number of US users. While those testers experience LOL as a replacement for their Watch tab, Facebook says theres no plans to roll out LOL in Watch and the team is still finalizing whether it will become a separate feature in one of Facebooks main app or a standalone app. Facebook declined to give a formal statement but told us the details we had were accurate.
Facebook is secretly building LOL, a cringey teen meme hub
With teens increasingly turning to ephemeral Stories for sharing and content consumption, Facebook is desperate to lure them back to its easily-monetizable feeds. Collecting the funniest News Feed posts and concentrating them in a dedicated place could appeal to kids seeking rapid-fire lightweight entertainment. LOL could also soak up some of the low-quality videos Facebook scrubbed out of the News Feed a year ago in hopes of decreasing zombie-like passive viewing that can hurt peoples well-being.
But our sources familiar with LOLs design said it still feels cringey, like Facebook is futilely pretending to be young and hip. The content found in LOL is sometimes weeks old, so meme-obsessed teens may have seen it before.After years of parents overrunning Facebook, teens have grown skeptical of the app and many have fled for Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. Parachuting into the memespehere may come off as inauthentic posing and Facebook could find it difficult to build a young fanbase for LOL.
In one of the recent designs for LOL, screenshots attained by TechCrunch show users are greeted with a carousel of themed collections called Dailies like Look Mom No Hands in a design reminiscent of Snapchats Discover section. Below that theres a feed of algorithmically curated For You clips. Users can filter the LOL feed to show categories like Wait For It, Savage, Classics, Gaming, Celebs, School, and Stand-Up, or tap buttons atop the screen to see dedicated sub-feeds for these topics.
Once users open a Dailies collection or start scrolling the feed, it turns into a black-bordered theater mode that auto-advances after you finish a video clip for lean-back consumption. Facebook cuts each video clip up into sections several seconds long that users can fast-forward through with a tap like theyre watching a long Instagram Story. Below each piece of content is a set of special LOL reaction buttons for Funny, Alright, and Not Funny. Theres also a share button on each piece of content, plus users can upload videos or paste in a URL to submit videos to LOL.
Facebook has repeatedly failed to capture the hearts of teens with Snapchat clones like Poke and Slingshot, standalone apps like Lifestage, and acquisitions like TBH. Fears that its losing the demographic or that the shift driven by the youth from feeds to Stories that Facebook has less experience monetizing have caused massive drops in the companys share price over the years. If Facebook cant fill in this age gap, the next generation of younger users might sidestep the social network too, which could lead to huge downstream problems for growth and revenue.
Facebook is secretly building LOL, a cringey teen meme hub

Thats why Facebook wont give up on teens, even despite embarrassing stumbles. Its newTik Tok clone Lasso saw only 10,000 downloads in the first 12 days. Despite seeming like a ghost town, Facebook still updated it with a retweet-like Relasso and camera uploads today. Unlike the Tik Tok-dominated musical video space, though, the meme sharing universe is much more fragmented and theres a better chance for Facebook to barge in.
Teens discover memes on Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, and exchange them in DMs. Beyond Imgur that encompasses lots of visual storytelling styles, theres no super-popular dedicated meme discovery app. Facebook might seem out of touch, but the fact that its even trying to build a meme browser shows it recognizes the opportunity here. Sometimes our brains need a break and we want quick hits of entertainment that dont require too much thought, commitment, or attention span. As Facebook tries to become more meaningful, LOL could save room for meaningless fun.
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