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Facebook is secretly working on a terrible meme app for teens

The ‘LOL’ meme hub is anything but LOL

In its latest attempt to stay relevant, Facebook has begun testing a new app for sharing memes. Recent years have seen the social media app become overrun with parents and Brexit-voting uncles, and swathes of teens have left for the greener pastures of Instagram and Snapchat. In its latest ploy to vie for the teenage market, Facebook has created a meme hub called “LOL”.

According to TechCrunch “LOL” is an app that features a feed of memes and GIFs categorised by topics like “animals” and “pranks”. It is currently being tested by 100 high school students with the consent of their parents, who all signed non-disclosure agreements in a bid to keep the experiment under wraps. As if the name wasn’t cringe enough, the memes are sorted into collections such as “Dailies” and “Look Mom No Hands,” with additionally lame filters like “Wait For It,” and “Savage”. In a classic, data-sucking Facebook-style move, there is also a “For You” section that attempts to use an algorithm to set you up with memes that are most suitable for you.

An official spokesperson confirmed the test: “We are running a small scale test and the concept is in the early stages right now.”

The news marks another in a long line of try–hard ventures by the company. Facebook has been trying to regain some of the younger users that they have lost in recent years with several failed knockoffs of other viral apps. In 2017, Facebook jumped on the anonymous social network trend by acquiring the tbh app, which was inspired by Yik Yak. It also had a go at the group video chat app Houseparty, and took major influence from Tik Tok and Snapchat with apps called Lasso and Slingshot.

This latest attempt however is seemingly one of the worst. From a quick look at the beta version trialed by the teens, it’s full of weeks-old memes and cringe function names. Out of all the social networking platforms, it’s probably Instagram that leads the way for dank memes, with dedicated niche meme accounts reaching millions of followers and a visual storytelling interface that lends itself to meme-ing. For a company that spent most of its time collecting data on the public, Facebook really doesn’t seem to understand what we want from them. If it can’t entice the next generation, is there any hope for FB?