Facebook launched an online safety website for teens on Monday, because social media websites and apps aren't easy to deal with even for adults.
The problem? I don't think teens are going to read it.
The social network's "Youth Portal" is nice-looking, with colorful designs, basic instructions about how to control your privacy on the service and even some good advice on how to not become an internet troll.
But to get to these articles you have to click through a homepage that's begging you to explore each of the sections without giving an idea of what content to expect. The "Tips and Resources" section, for example, has this description: "Hear from your peers, in their own voices, about the issues that matter to them online. Read about change makers and get inspired to use online tools to find your voice, build new communities and deeper connections."
If you choose to click through, the next page will give you a choice between "Principles" and "Blogs." So we have to click twice just to get to any meaningful content, and the audience still has no idea what that content will be. And that's too bad because the articles in the "Blogs" section are pretty thoughtful. There's information on how to avoid getting caught up in online drama and harassment, how to use Facebook to find online support communities about personal issues and how to avoid scams.
It's all pretty basic advice, but it's advice worth having online. And it's no bad thing to help teens avoid cyberbullying and other traumas that can take place in an always-connected society.
A Facebook representative told me over email that the company plans to update this portal based on feedback, and will be encouraging teens to visit the website over time. The representative also pointed out Facebook's other online safety resources, which include their Safety Center, Parents Portal and Bully Prevention Hub.
So, hopefully Facebook can eventually rework the website so it doesn't "bury the lede" so hard, as we often say in a newsroom. Heck, it might be worth renaming it: I'm sure plenty of adults can use some thoughtfully written advice about online safety and etiquette too.
First published May 15, 2018 at 8:30 a.m. PT.
Update 3:15 p.m. PT: Adds comments from Facebook.
The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.
iHate: CNET looks at how intolerance is taking over the internet.