Just like Facebook started out on the Harvard campus then spread to other colleges in 2004, a new social network called Fizz is doing the same, only this time from the campus of Stanford University. The two year old platform has already spread to 80 other college campuses across the United States and has plans to expand to 250 more by the end of the year.
Fizz allows students to comment on all facets of campus life, posting anonymously where other users can then upvote or downvote the post. This contributes to a “karma” score that boosts or cuts a user’s “fizzfluence.”
Investors Rush In
Seeing a new social network that might catch on, the platform just already raised about $25 million in Series B funding (the second round of funding after a company is beyond the startup stage), although like many startups, the way to monetize it isn’t particularly obvious yet. In total, the platform has raised over $42 million so far.
What Fizz has going for it is that it can act like a central hub for campus activities, something that incoming freshman are usually confused about. As a result, the investors see Fizz as a platform that new students can immediately embrace as they enter school, then continue using until they graduate and beyond.
Let’s Talk Expansion
How does Fizz currently handle expansion? It has student ambassadors that hand out flyers, and in a genius move, donuts. It also uses students for content moderation, but that has turned out to be a problem, just like it is on other networks. These volunteer moderators have the authority to take down posts they consider inappropriate or offensive, but as you might expect, accusations of bias have emerged.
Content moderation remains the biggest challenge for all social networks and it has already claimed a previous college-oriented network that was very similar to Fizz. In 2017 YikYak closed down after four years of operation because it was unable to control the level of hate speech that sprung up on the network.
We’re now six years down the road and a lot has been learned about moderation, so maybe those problems can be overcome. Regardless, with a few years growth, Fizz may become more of a challenger to Facebook than many think.