First reported by The Information, the app was released last week and is only available on the Canadian App Store. It’s the work of Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) team, which was set up earlier this year to create experimental apps that might not appeal to everyone.
With Whale, users can upload their own images or use stock photos from a library before adding text and effects. These can then be shared easily on Facebook apps such as Instagram and Messenger.
NPE has already created two other experimental apps: Bump, which enables anonymous one-on-one chats with people through the use of ice-breaker questions, and Aux, a group listening app where users compete to get their favorite songs played.
All three of NPE’s apps are aimed at younger people, which isn’t a surprise, given the meteoric rise of TikTok, which has been reportedly poaching Facebook’s employees. It might be incredibly popular, but the short-form video platform has had to deal with a $5.7 million FTC fine for allegedly violating the privacy of children, and regulators recently launched a national security review of the app, which has alleged ties to the Chinese government.
Facebook has a history of shutting down experimental apps, so don’t hold your breath waiting for a worldwide release of Whale.