It’s Back to School for Facebook, Too, as Facebook Campus Debuts

The opt-in dedicated section can only be activated with a valid college email address

Only people on Campus will see content that is shared via Campus, and the feature is completely opt-in Facebook

Facebook is going back to its roots with its rollout Thursday of Facebook Campus, a dedicated section in its flagship mobile application for students, which includes a profile separate from students’ main Facebook profiles.

Students at the schools were Facebook Campus is being rolled out can create profiles with their college email address and graduation year, and optional information that can be added to those profiles incudes class, hometown, major and minor.

Only people on Campus will see content that is shared via Campus, and the feature is completely opt-in.

The new feature isn’t Facebook’s first trip down memory lane.

It has become common knowledge that the social network was started in a Harvard University dorm room Feb. 4, 2004, by a sophomore named Mark Zuckerberg.

In December 2011, Facebook began testing a feature at Brown University and Vanderbilt University that enabled students at those schools with authenticated .edu email addresses to create groups for other students at those universities.

The feature officially rolled out at more schools in April 2012, dubbed Groups at (university name) and enabling students to create groups for things like classes, clubs, dorms and parties, which could only be joined by other students at those schools.

The key features in the current rendition of Facebook Campus are:

A Campus-only News Feed provides updates from classmates, events and groups. Product manager Charmaine Hung said in a Newsroom post that students can do things like asking for advice, creating study groups or planning virtual concerts.

A classmates directory makes it easy tor students to find and meet fellow students. It can be searched by class, major, year and other filters.

Campus Chats are real-time chat rooms that can be created by students.

Privacy and data policy manager Dianne Hajdasz provided more details on the privacy aspects of Facebook Campus in a separate Newsroom post.

As previously stated, a school email address is necessary for students to verify their affiliation with the university.

Only people who are part of Campus for that school can view Campus profiles, which will include the name, profile photo, cover photo and hometown from students’ main Facebook profiles, although the hometown can be edited or removed.

Select pages from the universities have access to Campus, and they can create, join and participate in groups and events, but they do not have access to chats or the classmates directory. They can see students’ Campus profiles via those groups and events.

Groups and events are limited to the specific schools, and no one outside of Campus for those schools can access or search for them. Groups and events can be open (everyone on Campus for that school can see them) or private (members only). For group events, anyone who can see the group can also see the event.

Students can block other students on the classmates directory, and the people being blocked will not be notified. People who are blocked will not be able to find the person who blocked them on Facebook or in the classmates directory.

Hajdasz wrote, “As with other Facebook products, we may use your activity from Facebook Campus to personalize your experience on our apps to show you more relevant content, including ads. This means your activity on Facebook may influence what you see in Campus, and your activity in Campus may influence what you see elsewhere on Facebook. Our data policy explains how we collect and use your information from Campus and other Facebook products. You can access your Campus data in our Access Your Information and Download Your Information tools.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.