Facebook has released a new teens-only social app called "Lifestage" that asks users to create profiles by uploading video clips instead of filling in text fields.
The standalone app is aimed at high school kids aged 21 and under, and doesn't require a Facebook account. Users are asked to select their high school and are then shown video profiles of people at the same school or ones nearby, as long as at least 20 people from the same school use the app.
User profiles ask kids to upload videos of their "happy face", "sad face", likes, dislikes, best friend, the way they dance, and more, and Lifestage turns the clips into a video profile that others can then watch on the app's social feed.
While there's no restriction on who can download the app and create an account, anyone 22 or older will only be able to see their own profile, although Lifestage notes during sign-up that it can't verify that users are the age they say they are. The app includes various highly visible blocking and reporting options, apparently to guard against the possibility of suspect users.
TechCrunch reports that the app was designed by Michael Sayman, a 19-year-old Facebook product manager who aims to replicate Facebook's original incarnation as a college student network. "I wanted to work on an app that my demographic would relate to, or at least that my friends would want to use," said Sayman.
The launch of Lifestage is certainly consistent with Mark Zuckerberg's stated goal of putting video at the heart of all of Facebook's apps and services, but it also points to the company's continuing concern at Snapchat's surging popularity among younger users, which has already led Facebook to imitate several of the app's features in its photo-focused social offering, Instagram.
Time will tell whether Lifestage succeeds in attracting a younger crowd, or goes the same way as Poke, Slingshot, Paper, and Notify, all of which Facebook eventually binned following a lack of uptake.