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Facebook reaches out to college students amid pandemic with new features

Facebook reaches out to college students amid pandemic with new features
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Facebook is recasting part of its platform for college students, creating a separate space with additional features for students to connect and interact with each other away.

The move is aimed at helping bolster college communities amid the coronavirus pandemic, as many students are required to keep their physical distance from each other, the company said in a press release.

Facebook acknowledged the move is a nod to its early days, when it started as an online social network for college campuses.

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"Facebook was a college-only network, and now we're returning to our roots with Facebook Campus to help students make and maintain these relationships, even if they're away from their college," the release said.

To use the college-only feature, students must use a valid university email address. The college section will be accessible to eligible users under the Facebook app's "More" tab.

The new features for students include a campus-only news feed designed for students to receive updates about classmates, clubs and events around campus.

A campus directory will also be accessible for students to locate their friends or meet new people.

In addition, the app will introduce real-time chat rooms that students can join or create for campus groups or clubs. The virtual groups could also be used by an entire dorm room or floor.

Facebook's investment in younger users comes as studies have revealed that fewer young people comprise the social media platform's user base.

According to a 2018 Pew Research Center study, 44 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 deleted the app from their devices.

A press release from Facebook lists the schools where the college-only feature is available now.