Facebook Preps New Teen App, With a Nod Toward Parents

Facebook is trying to find more ways to get younger people to use its apps, potentially by creating a teen-oriented messaging service that gives parents more control over whom their kids can contact.

Code inside the main Facebook app points to an unreleased messaging app aimed at young teens called “Talk,” which hasn’t been previously reported. The code reveals signs of new parental controls that would set the app apart from Facebook’s existing Messenger app. For example, a reference to unreleased features, written in plain-English text in the code, says, “Talk is a messaging app where you fully control the contacts.” Another command states, “Your child uses the Talk app to chat with you in Messenger.”

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There has been some solace at Facebook that its core app and Messenger’s struggles with teens are only temporary. When U.S. teens get to college, another former employee said, they tend to get on Facebook and use Messenger more.

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The separate “Lifestage” app Facebook released for high schoolers last year has gotten little attention.