GenZ Are “Lol” ing at Facebook
Facebook is secretly building “LOL” a cringe worthy meme-sharing app.
While GenZ migrated years ago from Facebook to apps such as Snapchat, musical.ly, TikTok and for older GenZ, Instagram, Facebook’s attempts to lure young people back have largely failed.
In the viral age of companies like ByteDance out innovating Facebook, Facebook tries hard and fails to understand how Gen Z really operate online. The smartest young Millennials (overpaid) at Facebook, can’t seem to figure out why their copy-cat apps don’t work.
If you have been following, Facebook’s attempts such as Facebook Watch, Lasso, and IGTV have failed horribly. It really shows how this company will have trouble scaling over time even with a massive 2 billion captive audience.
Currently, beta testers see LOL as a replacement for the Watch tab in Facebook. However, the team says that the feature will be a standalone app or an extension in one of the company’s other apps. From a Facebook Messenger for kids to these epic fails I’m not really sure what those Stanford graduates working in product at Facebook know what they are doing.
Facebook has spent months building LOL, a special feed of funny videos and GIF-like clips. It’s divided into categories like “For You”, “Animals”, “Fails”, “Pranks” and more with content pulled from News Feed posts by top meme Pages on Facebook. From Reddit to Discord, Facebook will be getting a lot of laughs, just not the kind they hoped for.
TechCrunch is calling LOL’s design “cringey” and that it comes off as being desperate to be “young and hip.” I have to admit, that made me chuckle a little bit. We’ve seen Facebook say sorry and keep doing basically what’s made it so controversial with such poor leadership, strategy and vision for how the real attention economy is actually evolving.
Gen Z may carelessly enjoy stories on Instagram, but it’s more by a default lack of competition than Facebook innovating anything. That’s the sad part about the Western internet, trapped under the boots of mobile digital advertising of Google and Facebook, the American internet is not a place where we are seeing much innovation in apps, retail, or even where you’d hope to see it in AR, VR and video — those categories where Facebook hype thought it would be relevant.
Gen Z are more like YouTube natives with a preference for micro video. With the FTC reportedly considering a record fine on Facebook, you have to think the age of tech regulation is near for U.S. tech firm monopolies. That Facebook is trying to “lure” teenagers back to its network of data harvesting, just feels wrong in 2019.
With a leadership pyramid that looks like an oligarchy of Zuck, Facebook’s charm has really been in decline for years. LOL is currently in private beta with around 100 high school students who signed non-disclosure agreements with parental consent to do focus groups and one-on-one testing with Facebook staff.
I’m just not sure Facebook can appreciate its predicament as being a seniors channels that teens won’t be so attracted to. Does this look like the future of memes to you?
Facebook has been so clueless how to be an ethical leader in technology, it’s become the very symbol of everything wrong with the internet, including privacy invasion, third party data harvesting at an obscene scale, and putting advertising revenue over being a customer-centric product.
With each passing year Facebook is being left behind somewhere circa 2009. Internet users have been really patient waiting for the next things after Facebook and Google, but the American web has disappointed since. This is why some of us are looking at the Chinese internet more seriously where things like mini-programs, interactive micro video, better AI and Snapchat upgrading feels more innovative.
Somewhere along the lines Millennials failed in innovation and leadership and I think Mark Zuckerberg is a perfect example of this. We live in a world where Gen Z care more about Fortnite than Facebook, and for LOL-ing apps like these, that’s a serious problem. Facebook is simply not relevant anymore for how young people navigate online experiences.
Sadly Facebook doesn’t appear to have much future in video games, live-streaming, the smart home or artificial intelligence, or in the future of apps — something you would have hoped it knew something about. As for its VR and video empire, it’s been an epic failure thus far.
It’s just quietly disturbing that it thought LOL was a good name for a meme-sharing app.