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Facebook halts plans for teen meme hub called LOL

Instead, the social network says, it's focusing more on a messaging app for kids.

Currency and Social Media

Facebook Messenger Kids

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Facebook, which has been building and testing a hub for humorous meme content, called LOL, is switching gears.

The world's largest social network confirmed on Thursday that it was no longer planning to release a meme app aimed at high school kids.

Instead it's focusing more on a messaging app for kids under 13 years old, called Messenger Kids.

The company is restructuring a "youth team" of more than 100 employees who work on products and features for children and teens, Recode reported earlier.

"The youth team has restructured in order to match top business priorities, including increasing our investment in Messenger Kids," a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement. 

Messenger Kids was released in December 2017 and gives children a way to chat with parent-approved friends and family members through the advertisement-free app. Child advocates have raised concerns that the app could contribute to depression, unhealthy sleep habits and lower self-esteem. The groups, which include the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, have urged Facebook multiple times to shut Messenger Kids down. The company says the app is safe.

Facebook, like other tech giants, has been trying to attract younger people to its platform and compete with apps such as Snapchat. Teens not only spend a lot of time on social media, they're also an important future audience for these companies to capture.

Facebook has experimented with other ways to attract younger users. Last year, it launched a short-form video app called Lasso, but the app hasn't gained much of a following. Facebook has also been ramping up efforts around a Snapchat-like feature called Stories, which lets users post videos and photos that vanish within 24 hours.

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