Less than two years after its launch, Facebook is shutting down Campus, a section of its app designed for college students, the latest blow to the company’s efforts to retain younger users. Campus users could access a special news feed and join groups, events, and chat rooms focused on college life. It also included a directory where users could find and friend other students on the app.
“We’ve decided to end our pilot of Facebook Campus,” Facebook spokesperson Leah Luchetti said in a statement emailed to The Verge. “We learned a lot 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.”
Luchetti added that all profiles, groups, posts, events, and other Campus content would be permanently deleted. Users can download their Campus data before March 10th, when the section will become unavailable.
Facebook notified users of the shutdown via an in-app message.
Launched in September of 2020, Campus was first piloted with 30 US schools, with each one siloed so users could only interact with other students at their school. It was walled off from the main Facebook app, allowing users to have Campus profiles separate from their main Facebook profiles. Facebook eventually expanded Campus to include 60 colleges and universities, and as TechCrunch noted, the company was announcing plans to add more colleges as recently as January.
Facebook itself was, of course, started on a college campus: Mark Zuckerberg and several classmates founded the platform — first called TheFacebook— at Harvard and initially limited it to Harvard students only.
But in recent years, Facebook, now part of parent company Meta, has struggled to attract and retain younger users. Internal memos leaked last year showed the number of teen users of the main “big blue” app had declined by 13 percent since 2019, with that number likely to continue declining. The company’s research also showed that younger users engaged much less often with the app than older counterparts.