Facebook has launched an app called E.gg for users in the US to offer them a “platform for freeform creative expression” and let them create zine-like webpages. The app, which was initially piloted earlier this year, is available for free download on Apple’s App Store. Unlike Facebook’s regular social networking platform where you can create profiles and pages, write posts and comments, and like and share content, E.gg is specifically designed to provide a nostalgic feel to Internet users where images, GIFs, shapes, and text can be curated onto freeform canvases. The experience is similar to how you create webpages on Tumblr.
The E.gg app is created by a research and development group at Facebook, known as the New Product Experimentation (NPE) team. It also uses Giphy, the company that Facebook acquired in May this year, to offer a number of GIFs that can be added to digital zines.
Users on Facebook’s E.gg can create shareable, unique URLs of their creations to let others view their collages, even if they don’t have the app installed on their devices. The app also lets users view creations made by others that it calls “bits.” Users can also add others’ work to their own creations — along with attributions.
Facebook says that during its beta testing phase, people used E.gg to create fan pages, guides, tributes, profiles, collages, recipes, and more.
Unfortunately, the app during its beta period had also been met with complaints from artists who claimed it was stealing their work. They said the tool had pulled in their GIFs without permission or credit. Facebook responded at the time to acknowledge the issues and noted that the reason the app was still in a beta testing phase was to get feedback about the sort of problems it needed to correct before going live. The company said it would hold off on expanding E.gg until it fixed these problems.
Facebook says it has addressed the attribution issues. On the desktop, it’s testing an “attribution” button on the bottom left of each page. On mobile, you can tap “bits” to see who art is by, the company notes. E.gg is available as a free download from the iOS App Store in the U.S.
One of the key reasons to bring E.gg is to attract young users as Facebook reported a decline of two million daily active users in the US and Canada alone. A report by Edison Research also highlighted a massive dip in youngsters who actively access the social networking site.