Facebook folds video story app Lifestage as it fails to catch on among teenagers

Facebook has closed video story app Lifestage

Facebook has shut down its teen-focused social app Lifestage after one year in operation, having failed to court young people away from Snapchat.

The video app was launched in August last year, designed as a dedicated social network for high schoolers. Only those aged under 21 could sign up to the app, although ages could easily be faked, leading to privacy concerns.

The iOS app was created by a teenager - Facebook’s then 19-year-old product manager Michael Sayman - as a way to court teenagers from youth-friendly Snapchat.

Sayman, who created his first app aged 13, was offered a job by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg aged 17. Lifestage was his first creation for the tech company.

Lifestage’s premise hinges on the early drafts of Facebook in 2004. It connects high school students with others from their school, just as Zuckerberg designed Facebook to connect University students through a social network. The design was inspired by screenshots of early versions of Facebook, Sayman said, where profiles were much more centered around schools, relationships, and personal qualities.

The difference with Lifestage, is rather than users having profile photos, the app invited users to record a series of videos and selfies depicting everything from likes, dislikes, friends, pets, dance moves and more. Lifestage turns those clips a user recorded into a video profile others can watch.

It bore a striking resemblance to the layout of Snapchat. But the app was not updated regularly, failed to reach the top charts in the App Store, and didn't have the same sophistication of tech as Snapchat.

The app was pulled from the App Store on 4 August, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider.

The spokesperson said that Facebook will use feedback from Lifestage to inform its other youth-focused features: "Teens continue to make up an important part of the global community on Facebook, and we've learned a lot from Lifestage. We will continue to incorporate these learnings into features in the main Facebook app.”

Similar moves from the social media giant to launch Snapchat-esque features to increase its appeal among young people, including the launch of its own Stories offering and its push into augmented reality, have proven more successful.

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