Facebook has removed two of its standalone apps from the iOS App Store: the high school chat app "Lifestage" and community-focused gathering place "Groups." Lifestage had been on the App Store since August 2016, while Groups had been around as a standalone app since 2014.
The company discussed the closure of Groups directly on its website (via TechCrunch), assuring users that the feature will continue to be a major aspect of Facebook on mobile and the web, but the standalone app will no longer allow users to log in after September 1, 2017. "Because we're focusing on groups in the main Facebook app and on facebook.com, we are discontinuing the Facebook Groups app for iOS and Android."
Separately, Lifestage was built for those under 21 years of age, allowing users to search for their local high school and discover fellow classmates who go to the same school, then chat with each other primarily through videos and selfies. The video-focused app included user profiles to showcase short clips of each person's "happy face," "sad face," likes, dislikes, best friend, favorite dance, and more. These features and the app's UI earned it a designation as another one of Facebook's Snapchat clones.
Now, Facebook has confirmed to Business Insider that the app was removed from the App Store on August 4. In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson said that while the app has been shut down, the company "learned a lot from Lifestage," and will use this information to continuously bolster similar camera- and video-focused Facebook features, likely referring to Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories.
“We originally launched Lifestage to make it easier for teens in the US to connect with others at their school by creating a video profile with content for all of things that make up their identity," a company spokesperson told BI. "Teens continue to make up an important part of the global community on Facebook, and we've learned a lot from Lifestage. We will continue to incorporate these learnings into features in the main Facebook app.”
Facebook started the first wave of "Snapchat clone" stories last summer with Instagram Stories, which let users post 24 hour-long visual updates to their profiles for their friends to watch. The company followed with WhatsApp Status, Messenger Day, and then Facebook Stories directly within the main Facebook app earlier this year, which so far has yet to catch on with users as much as Instagram Stories.
Facebook's next big push into video will be a "higher end" version of YouTube that's set to combine short 5-10 minute videos with original big-budget, cable-length dramatic series in one section of the social networking app. In July, sources predicted that the major push into video from Facebook was gearing up for a mid-August launch, but now that we're approaching the middle of the month it's unclear whether or not Facebook has delayed the launch yet again.