When Facebook purchased TBH last October it got more than just a viral polling app that amassed 2.5 million daily users, mostly teens, a few months after launch. The social network also acquired a carefully honed growth strategy targeted toward high school kids.
An internal document from Facebook, obtained by BuzzFeed News, shows TBH’s leadership explaining a well-tested method the startup used to attract teens at individual high schools to download its app. The note provides a window into Facebook’s growth-at-any-costs mentality and the company’s efforts to keep a key demographic engaged as its popularity among teens declines and it simultaneously runs out of people in the connected world to bring to its platform.
“Our team obsessed with finding ways to get individual high schools to adopt a product simultaneously.”
In the confidential memo, TBH’s founders told their new colleagues of “a psychological trick” that they employed to acquire teenage users en masse — a combination of scraping Instagram for high schoolers’ accounts, playing to youthful curiosity, and taking advantage of class dismissal hours.
A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on the note or on questions about whether the company employed the growth tactics learned from TBH.