Facebook has launched a new section called Campus – a product within the main app for college students to talk about, well, other college students and school. Campus is a place where students can interact with only their peers, access Campus-only News Feed, join Groups, group chat rooms (Campus Chats) and events – essentially live the real on-campus life online. This new section is Facebook going back to its roots, and it even has a “Campus directory” where you can find and make friends with other students from the same institution.
To access Campus, students will have to provide their .edu mail addresses and their graduation year. Post that, once they are in, they can create a new profile specially for this section. However, your mail profile photo and cover image will be used in this section too. Students will also have the option to add or remove classes, majors, minors, hometown and dorm information.
The more information you add the easier it will be for students to find classmates with “commonalities”. This also gives Facebook more data about exactly what college students are studying and who they are talking to and be able to figure out platform ads accordingly.
Charmaine Hung, the PM of Campus, told The Verge that Facebook opted for a separate profile for this section because students might not want to “share hyper-specific college information on their public profile”.
Campus is not a global feature just yet. For now, it is being piloted with 30 universities in the US that includes the likes of Johns Hopkins, Virginia Tech, Northwestern, Vassar and University of Louisville. Students cannot interact across campuses, they can only see and speak to those who attend the same school – like it is in a real-world case.
The Campus profile is “walled off” from the main Facebook, but, if you have blocked a person on Facebook, the person will remain blocked on Campus too and vice versa. And if a person has violated community guidelines on Facebook, they will not be allowed to join Campus either.
Alumni can stay on, but Facebook will be sending them a notification to suggest that they might want to leave because the section is not as relevant to them.
Campus seems to be a way for Facebook to keep its younger users and students engaged for longer while building off the main app behaviour itself. Students on Facebook right now are already joining groups specific to their schools so Facebook is just streamlining the process to make it a bit more “authentic”.
Interestingly, Instagram has not been integrated into the Campus pilot so, effectively, the main Facebook is still the focus of Campus and a requirement for students to find their school peers.