Facebook has informed users via an in-app message that it will be shutting down Campus – its college-focused social network.
Facebook is about to sunset its Campus pilot program, acknowledging that college students and faculty members prefer interacting online via Facebook groups. The company launched the unsuccessful college-focused social network pilot in the fall of 2020, making it available only to those with an @.edu email address.
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With the closure of the pilot program, all Campus profiles, groups, posts, and other data will be deleted. However, users can still view their data and download it using an export tool before the shutdown.
As the message notifying users of the imminent closure explains, “since we launched the Campus pilot, it’s been our mission to help bring college communities closer together. But we’ve learned that the best way to support students is through Facebook Groups.”
Facebook created Campus to appeal to younger people by offering college students a private place where they could connect with classmates, join groups, learn about upcoming campus events, get updates from their school’s administration, and chat with others.
The initiative, which Facebook hoped would profit from the changes to in-person socialization brought by the pandemic as it provides a virtual college network, has not been available as a stand-alone app and was accessible only as one of the many options within the “More” section of Facebook’s verticals, among Watch, Dating, Gaming, News, and others.
In addition, some users have complained in the past that the network was imposed on Facebook users based on their email address even though they were faculty, not students.
In the summer of last year, Campus was made available in 60 US colleges and universities, and 30 more schools were also added later. By January this year, Facebook Campus was still growing and reporting new school additions. At present, the program counts 204 onboarded schools, according to a TechCrunch report.
Ultimately, Facebook’s pilot test points out that college students would instead continue networking within Facebook Groups rather than exploring a dedicated product. As a Facebook spokesperson confirmed, the decision to shut down Facebook Campus has taught the company “about the best ways to support college students, and one of the most effective tools to help bring them together is Facebook Groups. We’ve notified students in the test schools that Campus will no longer be available and have suggested relevant college Facebook groups for them to join.”