New York (CNN Business)– Facebook is testing an option for users to create multiple profiles from a single account, as part of a bid by the platform to reignite user growth.
The feature is intended to help users “tailor their experience based on their interests and relationships,” Facebook spokesman Leonard Lam told CNN Business in a statement.
Although Facebook prohibits users from having more than one account, the feature would allow them to create up to five profiles under their account to engage with different topics or groups of people. This could involve profiles (and thus Facebook feeds) designed to engage with close friends or co-workers, or a profile dedicated to a specific hobby like gaming. Bloomberg reported for the first time testing the new feature on Thursday.
The test comes at a time when Facebook’s parent company, Meta, is experiencing slowing earnings growth and stiff competition for users’ time and attention from rivals such as TikTok. In February, Meta surprised investors by recording an unusual stagnation in quarterly user growth, a trend that reversed slightly in the first quarter of this year.
Meta is in the midst of transitioning into a company focused on a future “metaverse” enabled by virtual and augmented reality, rather than social media. But it needs to continue to profit from its current platforms to fund investments in that vision. The company has recently been working to further integrate Facebook and Instagram, making it easier for users to discover content and participate in communities between the two platforms, for example by displaying Instagram Reels in the Facebook feed.
Users of the new multiple profiles feature will be able to create unique names for each profile, but will still be subject to Facebook’s rules that prohibit misrepresentation and impersonation of public figures, according to Lam. People’s main profiles must continue to adhere to the platform rule of using the name they normally use. There will also be certain Facebook features, such as Facebook Dating and the ability to create a page, that will only be available to users’ primary profiles.
If a user violates the platform’s community standards in a profile, their entire account will be subject to disciplinary action.
“Anyone who uses Facebook must continue to abide by our rules,” Lam said.
The company is testing the new feature with users in select countries, according to Lam, though he did not specify where or when the option will be widely available.