Instagram and Tinder begin testing features to help users find fellow college and university students
Facebook-owned social media platform, Instagram and dating app, Tinder both appear to be returning to their roots by targeting their latest features towards college and university students. This is because this month, both Instagram and Tinder have announced that they’re testing tools to make it easier for users connect with fellow students.
Facebook was famously created in a Harvard University dorm by the company’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg and his college roommates. It was originally intended solely for students of Harvard University, before expanding to other select college campuses. Similarly, when Tinder was released five years ago, it was originally very popular with college and university students.
Last Tuesday, Tinder revealed that they were releasing a new feature called Tinder U. According to the original announcement (which was posted on the original Tinder blog), this new tool will make it easier to ‘swipe on’ other students that attend your university by putting their profiles first. It will also enable you to swipe on students that attend other colleges and universities nearby.
According to Tinder, the new Tinder U feature ‘is rolling out on iOS devices at 4-year, accredited, not-for-profit schools in the U.S. that deliver courses in a traditional face-to-face learning format.’ It can be accessed by logging onto Tinder and providing your college or university email address. You’ll then be sent a verification button.
A few days following Tinder’s announcement, Facebook revealed that Instagram would also be testing a new college community tool. As CNN explains, this new feature will enable Instagram’s users to join a virtual community with other students, and exchange direct messages with them.
Users can choose to accept or reject messages from other students within the community if they don’t follow them on the platform. However, if users want to use this new college community feature, they’ll need to opt-in to the test.
Similarly, Facebook has also released a new feature that could be helpful to users that want to connect with fellow students. The newly tested ‘things in common’ label will identify similarities you share with users, such as your mutual friends, hometown, employers, and of course, school, college or university. This label will be displayed above comments on posts from people you’re not friends with.
The TJM take: With there being continuous concerns being raised over users’ privacy on the Facebook platform (due to the now infamous Cambridge Analytical scandal), their new ‘things in common’ label might not be welcomed with open arms. Although useful for identifying people you may already know, users may feel like it’s invasive to easily display information such as your hometown or the college or university you attend to users you’re not friends with.
However, we’re glad to see that Instagram and Tinder are focussing their newest features on the users that can be said to have made from popular in the first place; university students. With 2018 data from Pew Research Centre showing that the 18-29 year-old age group consume the most social media, this could be a very wise move for both platforms.
Additionally, as you’re required to opt-in to both Tinder and Instagram’s new tools for students, it can be assumed that they won’t share the same possible privacy concerns as the ‘things in common’ label if it were to be rolled out more widely across the platform in the future.
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