Facebook Launches App for High School Teens

Facebook has launched a new social media platform to connect high school students.

The Lifestage app is the brainchild of Michael Sayman, Facebook’s 19-year-old product developer.

Lifestage is aimed specifically at teenagers in high school. The platform encourages users to upload pictures and videos to show feelings, likes and dislikes. These are turned into video content which plays to other users.

To sign up, no previous social media account is required. Users select their high school, which reveals the existing video profiles from people at the same school or schools nearby. Once 20 students from one given school sign up, users can see each other’s profiles.

This model mirrors Facebook’s original format, with users identifying themselves by their school, promping them to get their friends on board.

There’s no way to contact people directly on the platform; instead, users tap “Reach Me” and selected details, such as Instagram or Twitter handles, provide access to their other profiles.

The high school target market is such that users over the age of 21 can only see their own profiles. Students can easily block suspect users as well, by swiping against their profiles.

All posts are public and users cannot put viewing restrictions in place. According to the creator of Lifestage, the app’s open policy is to encourage school goers to interact with fellow students at the same school.

Lifestage’s blanket privacy policy has prompted questioning from some. Dr Bernie Hogan from the Oxford Internet Institute said: "The lack of privacy settings on this app in its current state is indicative of Facebook ideology - which is to stay open and connected as much as possible."

"From their point of view that's a great idea but sometimes being so open can get in the way of getting connected. They already know this as people become reluctant to share things online if they have to share them with everyone.

"It seems yet again that they are trying to push the boundaries of what we think is appropriate to share online and then walking back when they face public criticism."

The app is currently only available on Apple devices in the US.   

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