Lifestage: Is Facebook Facing An Identity Crisis?

Is Facebook Inc. facing an identity crisis? What else could explain why the social networking company launched a stand-alone app for teenagers which does not require a Facebook account. The app called Lifestage is for those under 21, created by a 19-year-old product manager.

“Lifestage is another attempt by Facebook to gain back users from Snapchat,” says Anshoo Nandwaani, Vice President and Principal Analyst, Greyhound Research.

An earlier attempt was ‘Stories’ by Facebook-owned Instagram. Instagram Stories allowed users to post as many photos and videos in a slideshow format, which disappeared after 24 hours much like Snapchat’s My Story.

“Secondly, Snapchat’s user base is mainly teenagers, while Facebook’s user base is now increasingly middle-aged individuals. Teens are increasingly becoming significant users of video content (Snapchat is testimony). This is why Facebook’s strategy of making Lifestage a video-based app, aimed only at teenagers to interact freely with other students from their college, away from prying eyes of adults and interference by parents (unlike Facebook),” says Nandwaani.

However, Nandwaani cautions about some grey areas which one needs to watch out for. “The Sign Up process asks the user to specify which college they belong to. While One User – One College check is in place, there is currently no process in place to verify if the student is actually enrolled in the stated college. Also, as of now, there are no Privacy Controls in the app. After successful signup, the app will broadcast all updates from a user’s profile, with no screening or control.”

Source: LiveMint

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