In recent weeks, Facebook has been at the centre of more controversies than usual. From its uncomfortable metaverse to News Feed tampering and agreeing to spread misinformation, it’s not a great time for the tech giant.
On thy other hand, it could always get worse. As part of The Wall Street Journal's ongoing Facebook documents investigation, leaked documents reveal the company was looking at a new target audience: preteens.
Facebook sees preteens as an “untapped” market
The report claims that the social media company formed an internal team to “study preteens”. Outside of Instagram, the Facebook platform is unpopular with young people. With that in mind, the company wanted to target “tweens” as a potential new audience.
Alleged documents claim that Facebook struggles with — grossly worded — “global teen penetration”. The platform’s teenage audience is expected to drop by at least 45% in the next year. Instead, the company would garner a new audience, allowing kids between the ages of “10” and “12” to grow up with the platform.
This younger audience is described as a “valuable but untapped audience”. Documents state the company could be “leveraging playdates” to bring in younger audiences. Additionally, the company wants to “imagine a Facebook experience designed for youth” for people “getting on the internet as young as six years old.”
The company is harmful to kids
All of this comes after a damming internal study regarding the damage Facebook has on kids. A prior article in the Facebook Files series revealed that the company is aware of its negative effects on children.
The internal study states: “we make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls” with products like Instagram. Afterwards, the company made little changes to Instagram to combat this. Additionally, the company then planned to create an “Instagram Kids” experience which was curved to be shut down.