The company that owns TikTok, ByteDance, is trying a rival to Instagram called Whee.

The app's UI closely resembles Meta's social network, but is only for "friends"

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Governments and governing bodies all over the world are after TikTok’s parent company, but the company is still open to trying out new social services. ByteDance is now trying a new app that lets people secretly share photos.

Whee is a unique app made by ByteDance that multiple people have called an obvious copy of Instagram. It has a social “club” where users can share pictures, just like Meta’s network does. The Whee app tells users to share their pictures “with friends only,” because it’s meant to bring together people they know, not strangers on the internet.

The new app is on Google’s Play Store in a dozen countries right now, but not in the US. Countries like Australia, Turkey, Thailand, and Pakistan can get it. It doesn’t work when you try to access the service from a country that doesn’t allow it, which suggests that ByteDance might have a strict policy against VPNs.

You can see Whee’s user interface as either proof of how well Instagram works as a social network or as a simple copy of one of the most famous ones out there. It looks a lot like Instagram, with tabs for the camera, story, and messages. Also, there is a reminder box that looks like Instagram’s.

TikTok, on the other hand, is meant to get random people to watch popular videos, so it doesn’t care about privacy at all. Whee doesn’t seem to focus on “viral” sharing and seems to be more of a limited social experience. The goal of the app is to be the “ideal place” where people can share private times with family and friends.

ByteDance hasn’t made any public announcements about the Whee app, so it’s possible to think of it as a soft start for a service that is still in its preview stage. The Chinese company could decide to later make Whee available to a lot more people, or they could shut down the service after getting comments from users.

ByteDance could be barred from TikTok in the US, Europe, and other places around the world. Washington is trying to get the app taken off of app stores by using the law. There were reports recently that a version of the service that would only work in the US was in the works, but ByteDance later put those rumors to rest.

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