Last week, Facebook quietly launched a new meme creation app called Whale, The information reports. The app is currently only available on the Canadian App Store, where the listing indicates that it can be used to edit your own photos or images from a photo library. You can share your creations on social media platforms like Instagram and Messenger.
The app listing confirms that it was developed by the Facebook New Product Experimentation Team (NPE), created earlier this year to develop new experimental apps for the social media giant. At the time, Facebook said it was using a separate brand name to set the expectation that its apps could change quickly, or even shut down if the company finds it not useful to people. NPE is also credited with launching two other applications, called Bump and Aux. A Facebook spokesman said The information that applications aim to help the business discover new features and services that people enjoy.
Facebook's experiences with new apps take place amid the meteoric rise of TikTok, the video-focused social media platform popular with younger users. In the last two and a half years after its release outside China, TikTok has become a popular source for memes that have spread to other social media services. So far this year, ByteDance's proprietary app has added over 500 million users and is on track to have 1.5 billion total users. However, there were signs this month that growth is starting to slow.
The rise of TikTok was not without criticism. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg raised concerns about the app's censorship of criticism of the Chinese government. US lawmakers are also investigating TikTok ByteDance owner's links to Beijing.
Whale joins a long list of experimental apps that have been launched or purchased by Facebook over the years, including Moments, Notify, Lifestyle, Poke, Slingshot, Tbh, Moves, and Hello. Given Facebook's history, we recommend not get very attached to your most recent experience.