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Instagram's New Competition: ByteDance Unveils New Photo-sharing App on Playstore

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By Christian Webster - - 5 Mins Read
Whee app logo and Instagram logo collage
Whee app, Instagram | Google Play/Unsplash

ByteDance, the company behind TikTok, has recently launched a new photo-sharing app named Whee on the Google Play Store.

However, the app is currently not accessible in many markets.

According to the app description, Whee is designed for users to "capture and share real-life photos that only your friends can see," indicating that it's meant for sharing photos exclusively with close friends rather than aiming for widespread sharing.

The Whee App Unique Features and Interface

The screenshots of Whee show a design that looks similar to Instagram, with a feed of photos posted by friends.

Unlike Instagram and Snapchat, Whee photos are viewable only by selected friends. Friends can like and comment on each other's posts, but outsiders will not see the content.

“Whee is a new social app created to keep you connected with your close friends through life's spontaneous moments. Capture and share real-life photos that only your friends can see, allowing you to be your most authentic self. Whee is the best place for close friends to share life moments.”

 

Whee app interface screenshots

Whee app interface | Google Play

 

The app is currently accessible in approximately twelve countries, according to an X user named Artem Russakovskii.

However, the initial launch does not include the US. Attempting to access Whee from unsupported regions will result in an error message, and bypassing these restrictions using a VPN is impossible.

petition in the Photo-sharing Space

ByteDance is not the first company to create a rival to Instagram.

Instagram reached 500 million daily users in 2017 and has grown to a user base of at least 2 billion, according to Meta's Q3 2022 earnings call.

In a January Pew Research Center study, about 47 per cent of U.S. adults are Instagram users.

Other companies like Snapchat and BeReal offer different approaches to the photo-sharing experience. Snapchat's content is ephemeral, while BeReal requires users to post photos at specific times.

Apps often borrow features from their competitors. For example, Instagram introduced "Reels," modeled after TikTok's short-form content, in 2020.

The layout of Whee is reminiscent of Instagram, with comments displayed beneath square photos and a tab for direct messages.

In April, developer TikTok Pte, a subsidiary of ByteDance, launched its Instagram rival app TikTok Notes.

With Notes, TikTok's feed switched to a grid layout similar to Instagram's, allowing users to view more than one post at a time. Like TikTok Notes, users will also need a TikTok account to register for Whee.

Security Concerns and Market Strategies

The launch of Whee arrives several months prior to the deadline for ByteDance to sell most of its stake in TikTok.

A legislation rapidly approved by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Joe Biden on April 24 mandates the company to divest its ownership or potentially face a complete prohibition in the country next year.

Legislators have labeled TikTok as a national security concern, implying that ByteDance is under the control of the Chinese Communist Party.

Yintao Yu, a former ByteDance employee-turned-whistleblower, claimed that CCP officials had access to user data.

Despite these challenges, ByteDance is committed to launching more apps for its app for fun.

The ByteDance app list is growing, with Whee being the latest addition that will spearhead the photo-sharing market.

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