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Facebook Has Launched Another Teen Focused App, This Time to Make Memes

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For pretty much its entire history, Facebook has been afraid of losing touch with the kids.

Well, maybe not since its inception, as it came to prominence by superseding former youth champ MySpace. But likely because of how it overtook MySpace as the cool place to be, Facebook knows that it too can be trumped by the next big app, if such an option manages to gain significant traction among younger users. And that’s a fate that Facebook is desperate to avoid.

Enter Facebook’s latest attempt to stay cool with younger folk:

Whale App screenshots

These screenshots are from a new app called Whale, which is now available to Canadian users via a company called NPE Team LLC. NPE – which stands for ‘New Product Experimentation‘ – is actually part of Facebook’s experimental app division, which is headed by former Vine GM Jason Toff.

Whale is the latest app from NPE, following on from music app AUX and chat app Bump. The new app was first reported by The Information.

Whale enables users to create their own memes with simplified templates and tools.

As per Whale’s App Store description:

“No distractions, no hidden subscription pricing. Use your own images or choose from our stock photo library and get creative with text, tools, effects, and more right inside the app.”

To use Whale, you first pick an image you want to use as your template – either your own or from the stock library. You can then add text, emojis and filters to turn your image into a meme. You can then save and share the image to various social networks direct from the app.

The functionality is fairly basic, but it may work as a means to help more people get involved in meme trends. If Whale offers up the latest meme templates, and simple ways for users to add their own spin, that could come in handy, and it could gain traction among younger user groups.

Which, as noted, Facebook would love. You can look to the growing list of Facebook’s previous youth app failures as an indicator of their enthusiasm for staying in touch with the next generation.

For example:

  • Snapchat clone Poke (2012 – 2014)
  • TikTok challenger Lasso (2018 -)
  • Snapchat copy Slingshot (2014 – 2015).   ​
  • Cool kids app Lifestage (2016 – 2017)
  • Houseparty replicant Bonfire (2017 – 2019)
  • Snapchat messaging-like Threads (2019-)

You can also add the aforementioned AUX and Bump, and a range of others which have appeared then disappeared just as quick. It’s not entirely clear what Facebook gains from these experiments – but really, it only needs one to catch on, or even catch on a bit, in order to slow the momentum of the competition.

Whale doesn’t appear to have a direct comparison, though its likely aimed at the evolving tools of Giphy (which claims to have 300 million daily active users) and/or a range of other meme creation apps.

So will it work? As noted, it could have functional value, it could help more users lean into meme trends. It’s hard to say whether it’ll gain momentum, but Facebook will start by testing it out with Canadian users, then growing it from there if it makes sense.

More interesting, however, is to note what youth trends Facebook is looking to tap into. AUX is about sharing music, Bump is about connecting students through Q and A style messaging. Whale is about making memes. These are the areas that Facebook feels it can facilitate, either because there’s a gap in the market for such tools, or there’s a way that it can build apps which exceed similar offerings from the competition.

That could provide some indication of where The Social Network will look next in its mains apps also.

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Helping Prevent Discrimination in Ads that Offer Housing, Employment or Credit Opportunities.

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iscrimination has no place on Facebook, and our advertising policies have long prohibited unlawful discrimination. Over the last year, our auditors have released two progress updates on Facebook’s Civil Rights Audit and we reached a historic settlement with leading civil rights organizations. As part of the settlement, we introduced a new process for how advertisers based in the US, or trying to reach audiences in the US, can buy ads that offer housing, employment or credit opportunities. These ads are known as Special Ad Categories and are restricted from using the following targeting criteria: age, gender, ZIP code, multicultural affinity or any detailed options describing or appearing to relate to protected characteristics.The Latest News from Facebook for Business

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Facebook Brings WhatsApp Integration to Its Revamped Crisis Response Tool

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Social network giant Facebook is adding a WhatsApp button to crisis response tool, its disaster-reporting and communications feature where a user requests or offers help during a time of emergency. The tool is being used in 300 crises in more than 80 countries presently.

The new feature will allow people in affected areas to provide real-time information related to any disaster, TechCrunch.com reported on Tuesday.

Formerly, replies to requests on Facebook’s crisis response pages could only be sent with Facebook Messenger.

The update allow the social network to provide this information to state and local officials, as well as federal relief agencies such as Direct Relief and the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation.

Facebook is also expanding its Data for Good tools, using its data to provide relief organisations with information on where to distribute supplies, based on aggregated, anonymised data.

Additionally, Facebook is also updating its disaster maps to be more accurate in collaboration with agencies such as the International Displacement Monitoring Centre.

The new features will allow for photo and video sharing within the Crisis Response centre on Facebook.

Crisis Response originally developed out of a handful of features that help family, friends and communities support one another in the wake of a disaster.

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Facebook to Allow Transfer of Photos, Videos to Google, Other Rivals

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Facebook started testing a tool on Monday that lets users move their images more easily to other online services, as it faces pressure from regulators to loosen its grip on data. The social network’s new tool will allow people to transfer their photos and videos directly to competing platforms, starting with Google Photos. The company said it will first be available to people in Ireland and will be refined based on user feedback.

The tool will then be rolled out worldwide in the first half of 2020.

US and European regulators have been examining Facebook’s control of personal data such as images as they look into whether the tech giant’s dominance is stifling competition and limiting choice for consumers. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reacted by calling for new rules to address “data portability” and other issues.

Facebook said that as it worked on a new set of data portability tools, it had discussions with policymakers, regulators, and academics in the UK, Germany, Brazil, and Singapore to learn about which data should be portable and how to protect privacy.

The company is developing products that “take into account the feedback we’ve received and will help drive data portability policies forward by giving people and experts a tool to assess,” Steve Satterfield, director of privacy and public policy, said in a blog post.

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