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Facebook building meme platform for teens called LOL

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best memes 2017baby tracy/Twitter; Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock; Complex/YouTube

  • Facebook is quietly building a platform for discovering memes, TechCrunch reports.
  • The platform is called LOL, and will consist of “funny videos and GIF-like clips” that users can vote on and share.
  • However, LOL was described as “cringey” to TechCrunch, and the platform is said to be out of touch with the wants of meme-obsessed teens.

In its latest effort to stave off the steady flow of teens leaving its platform, Facebook has been building a dedicated space for users to discover memes and viral content.

The new platform, called LOL, is designed as a “special feed of funny videos and GIF-like clips” using content “pulled from News Feed posts by top meme Pages on Facebook,” according to a new report from TechCrunch. Under each meme that appears in LOL, users can choose three reactions for the post: “Funny,” “Alright,” or “Not Funny.”

LOL is currently in private beta and is being tested out by 100 high school students who got parental consent to participate and also signed non-disclosure agreements with Facebook, according to TechCrunch.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed in an email to Business Insider that it is working on the platform, saying: “We are running a small scale test and the concept is in the early stages right now.” 

However, those who have seen LOL told TechCrunch the design is “cringey” and misses the mark. LOL is apparently featuring content that is weeks old, and that has surely already been seen before by the meme-obsessed users who would actually use the platform.

Read more: An internal email shows how Facebook learned of a ‘psychological trick’ to get teens to try a new product

From TechCrunch’s screen grabs, LOL’s design and features draw comparisons to Snapchat’s Discover feed. Facebook’s LOL includes section for themed content collections called “Dailies,” which look pretty similar to curated clips Snapchat compiles for Discover. LOL also lets you filter your feed by category, including “Fails,” “Pranks,” “Savage,” “Wait for It,” “Celebs,” and a personalized “For You” tab.

As it stands, LOL reportedly acts as a replacement for Facebook’s Watch tab. But Facebook has yet to decide whether LOL will exist as a standalone app, or as a feature within the existing app, TechCrunch reports. 

Facebook’s increasing unpopularity among Generation Z has been well-documented, and experts say Facebook has been taken over by parents. Only 5% of teens chose Facebook as their preferred social media platform in a Piper Jaffray survey from Fall 2018, and almost 80% of surveyed teens chose either Instagram or Snapchat instead. 

In response to its dwindling presence in teens’ lives, Facebook has attempted to grow several features and spinoff apps. Facebook launched a standalone app in November called Lasso that’s drawn comparisons to TikTok (and the late video app Vine), but the app has yet to take off like its competitors. Facebook also acquired the anonymous app tbh, which was popular among teens in late 2017, but closed down the app just eight months later. Other ventures include Hello, Slingshot, and Poke, but all have either shuttered or faded into virtual non-existence.

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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