19 September 2020
Facebook has launched a new service designed to make it easier for college students to connect with others at their school. The service comes as colleges across the United States seek to find new ways to operate during the coronavirus health crisis.
The move takes Facebook back to its very beginning. The social network launched in 2004 as a college-only network called TheFacebook. At the time, founder Mark Zuckerberg was a student at Harvard University. He built the website as a way for Harvard students to personally connect with each other.
In a statement, the company says the new service has a similar purpose: "to help students connect with fellow classmates over shared interests." The service, called Facebook Campus, is designed to "make it easy to find and start conversations" within college communities.
Many social media users reacted to the new service by noting Facebook's early history.
"So basically @Facebook launched the original Facebook?" Jolie Lindley wrote on Twitter. "They didn't have to put too much worker power into that concept."
Another Twitter user wrote, "I thought the same thing. Facebook launched...Facebook?"
The launch comes as colleges and students across the U.S. are facing new educational realities created by the coronavirus crisis. With many schools deciding to hold most or all classes online, "it's more important than ever to find a way to stay connected to college life," Facebook said.
The company said the service can help students form new relationships "even if they're away from their college."
Where to find it
Facebook Campus is a separate area of the main Facebook app that is designed for students only. Users can create a profile in Campus that is different from their main Facebook profile.
To sign up, students are required to provide their college email and the year they will graduate. They can add additional details if desired, such as their area of study, classes and hometown.
Campus permits students to discover groups and events happening only at their school. Profile information can also help users connect with other students with similar interests.
Currently, Facebook Campus is available to students at 30 U.S. colleges and universities. The schools include California Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Florida International University, Vassar College and many others. Facebook plans to add more in the future.
How it works
Like the main Facebook service, Campus has a News Feed that shows content published by other users and groups. The Campus news only includes material related to that user's school.
Facebook Campus also has a messaging system, called Campus Chats. It permits users to create chat rooms, based on personal interests or college groups they belong to.
Facebook says when content is shared on Campus, only registered users of the same college community can see it.
Unlike the main Facebook app, the company says Campus does not permit content published by groups to be seen by people off Facebook. And, information relating to groups and events on Campus is limited to only the user's school.
Users can choose to make a Campus group open for all others to find, or it can be made private, meaning the content can only be seen by members of the group.
Like its main app, Facebook said in a statement about privacy that Campus can use a user's activity "to show more relevant content," including advertisements.
I'm Bryan Lynn.
Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from Facebook and content on Twitter. Hai Do was the editor.
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Words in This Story
conversation – n. a talk between two or more people, usually an informal one
original – adj. existing since the beginning
concept – n. an idea or principle
app – n. a program for a smartphone or other device that performs a special function
profile – n. a short description about a person
content – n. the information presented in different forms or media or on the internet
chat – n. a talk with someone in an informal way
relevant – adj. related or useful to what is happening or being talked about