Internal Documents Reveal That Facebook Would Like Your Kids To Stop Playing And Stare At Their Phones More

In a damning set of internal documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Facebook is shown to have aggressively pursued avenues to get children to use its Messenger Kids app while on play dates. According to the documents, Facebook was troubled by its findings that when kids are together they verbally communicate and interact with each other instead of using their phones, which hello, yes, they’re children. Unfortunately, Facebook saw this natural occurrence as a challenge and began looking into ways for “leveraging play dates to drive word of hand/growth.” Actual phrasing. Via WSJ:

Internal Facebook documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show the company formed a team to study preteens, set a three-year goal to create more products for them and commissioned strategy papers about the long-term business opportunities presented by these potential users. In one presentation, it contemplated whether there might be a way to engage children during play dates.

“Why do we care about tweens?” said one document from 2020. “They are a valuable but untapped audience.”

For the record, tweens are categorized as ages 10 through 12, so we’re talking elementary school students who Facebook hopes to convert into power users who stare at phone screens instead of laughing and playing while with their friends. Real tobacco executive vibes on display here.

The WSJ report arrives on the heels of Facebook putting its plan for “Instagram Kids” on hold after facing a wide array of backlash. Learning that the tech company has been trying to “leverage play dates” into high vectors of user growth [or some corporate gobbeldy gook here] probably isn’t going to help things. Call it a hunch.

(Via Wall Street Journal)