Facebook, Instagram Celebrate the Class of 2020 With Livestreaming Graduation Event

Oprah Winfrey will deliver the commencement address, and other celebrities will speak

Celebrities including Awkwafina, Simone Biles, Jennifer Garner and Lil Nas X will also speak, and Miley Cyrus will perform Viktor Kyselov/iStock
Headshot of David Cohen

Facebook and Instagram are looking to ease the pain for students in the class of 2020 who are missing out on their graduation ceremonies due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the help of some serious star power.

Oprah Winfrey will deliver the commencement address during multihour livestreaming event #Graduation2020: Facebook and Instagram Celebrate the Class of 2020 Friday, May 15, at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET.

#Graduation2020 will broadcast on Facebook Watch and be available via the Facebook App page, with individual segments to be posted to the @instagram account on Instagram and to the social accounts of contributors.

Celebrities including Awkwafina, Simone Biles, Jennifer Garner and Lil Nas X will also speak, and Miley Cyrus will perform hit song “The Climb.”

The ceremony will acknowledge high schools and colleges across the country, state by state, by name, complete with photos and videos of graduates and messages from deans and principals.

Graduates can also host their own virtual ceremonies and parties via Facebook, with special features including a virtual graduation hub, custom filters and celebrations with family and friends enabled by the recently introduced Messenger Rooms feature.

Instagram will start off that week Monday, May 11, with daily programming on its main account featuring iconic senior experiences, such as senior superlatives, portrait showcases and senior skip day.

The photo- and video-sharing network will also roll out new in-application creative tools and features, including a graduation countdown sticker, a celebratory sticker pack, new augmented reality effects and a custom hashtag page for #Graduation2020.

Music stickers for Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories are getting a new Graduation theme with songs related to graduation that users can craft into a soundtrack.

#Graduation2020: Facebook and Instagram Celebrate the Class of 2020 will be produced by B17 Entertainment. Rhett Bachner and Brien Meagher will serve as executive producers, while Jane Mun will be the showrunner and executive producer.

Facebook vice president of global partnerships, business and corporate development Marne Levine said in a Newsroom post, “This is a bittersweet time for the class of 2020. As students head toward graduation, it’s not the day they might have imagined—no processions, no diploma handoffs, no parties. They are commencing at a time of great uncertainty. But graduating is a tremendous achievement, and worth pausing to celebrate even in these circumstances. That’s why Facebook has planned a special event on the Facebook app and Instagram.”


david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.
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