Facebook often releases experimental tools to test the waters for new features and services. Its latest, an app called Whale, lets you create your own memes from scratch. According to a report by The Information, the social network debuted the app on the Canadian iOS app store last week.
Similar to other run-of-the-mill meme creators, Whale comes with a standard set of annotation features that let you add elements such as text, emojis, and filters over images. You can capture a new picture, pick from your personal gallery, or import from the app’s built-in stock library. In addition, Whale’s listing calls out a few popular meme apps by claiming it doesn’t have any “hidden subscription pricing.”
Whale also lets you choose from a number of grid layouts to design memes in well-known internet formats. The app even offers the ability to produce custom stickers out of your own images. Once you’re done, you can either save the meme locally on your phone or share directly to Facebook’s platforms like WhatsApp and Messenger.
Whale is the product of a Facebook division called New Product Experimentation (NPE), where developers are tasked with building unique and experimental tools. It was set up earlier this year when Facebook especially began struggling to stymie the rise of Chinese short-form video app TikTok. The NPE team has previously launched two other apps: An anonymous, local social networking platform called Bump, and Aux, a music sharing service for youngsters. However, none of them have been successful or merged with any of the company’s commercial products yet.
The majority of Facebook’s past projects, such as Slingshot or Poke, have been built to combat the success of competitors such as Snapchat. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the social network is yet again investing in new, experimental apps. Bytedance’s TikTok has exponentially grown across the globe and now hosts about a billion monthly active users.
A Facebook spokesperson told The Information that “apps the group spins up could be shut down quickly and are intended to help the company find new features and services that people like.”
Facebook didn’t comment on whether Whale will arrive on Android or make its way into other countries.