Facebook is making an effort to crack the greatest mystery of all — teen outreach — with a new central hub it’s dubbed the “Youth Portal.” In addition to very hip explanations of “how to get the most out of products like Pages, Groups, Events, and Profile, while staying safe,” the portal will also offer security tips, advice about the internet, as well as first-person accounts from fellow teens around the world about tech.
Facebook is already notoriously unpopular with parents trying to spare their children the horrors of social media; the company has been unsuccessfully trying to win back its younger users for years. Its latest effort, coupled with the cringe-worthy decision to call young people “youths,” feels like yet another misstep. A list of guide principles includes tips to change privacy settings or think about who you keep on your friends list under lecture-like labels like “change your locks every so often,” or “don’t let strangers hang out in your room.” Think before you speak, advises one: “Before you post publicly, pause and ask yourself, ‘Would I feel comfortable reading this out loud to my parents and grandparents?’” They’re guidelines for any social media user, but dumbed down with bright colors and anthropomorphic tablets.
If a Snapchat clone couldn’t woo young users back, maybe lists and essays will. If there’s one thing teens love, it’s definitely reading rules!