Facebook to launch experimental apps to test new features

Facebook is to begin releasing experimental apps to the public as part of new product development plans.

The social media giant said it would launch “small, focused apps” based on “entirely new experiences” through its New Product Experimentation (NPE) developer team.

The company said the apps will be available on Apple’s App Store, Android and the web, but is yet to confirm which ones will be released.

A blog post on the new scheme said: “In the coming weeks, Facebook will begin to launch new consumer-focused apps under the developer name ‘NPE Team, from Facebook’.

“NPE Team apps will be aligned with Facebook’s mission of giving people the power to build community but will focus on shipping entirely new experiences.

“We decided to use this separate brand name to help set the appropriate expectations with users that NPE Team apps will change very rapidly and will be shut down if we learn that they’re not useful to people.”

The social network said the aim of the programme was to test new products without causing disruption to those using the main Facebook service.

“This is a way for Facebook to develop new types of experiences for people and to try different ideas by creating small, focused apps in order to see whether people find certain features useful or engaging. We may use what we learn to help inform our thinking and product strategy moving forward,” the site said.

“Unlike Facebook’s family of apps, NPE Team apps will change very rapidly and will be shut down if we learn that they’re not useful to people. We expect many failures. We also want to minimise disruption to the billions of people who use Facebook apps every day.”

The company has previously launched a number of companion apps which have then been subsequently abandoned, including photo app Moments, notifications apps Notify and anonymous social media app Tbh.

Facebook said any new apps released by the NPE Team would be governed by the social network’s terms of service and data policy, and that the company is “committed to giving people control over their personal data” and protecting user privacy.

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