LIKE A COUPLE BORED OF THEIR SEX LIFE, Facebook is experimenting, only rather than popping keys in a bowl, it's going to create "new apps and new experiences" under its NPE Team division.
Standing for New Product Experimentation, the NPE Team will work on new apps for the web service, iOS and Android, with a focus on users rather than developers or advertisers.
"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," said Facebook.
This isn't anything particularly unusual as Google's parent company Alphabet has its X experimental division, and Microsoft has its Garage division for experimental app development.
But given all the mess Facebook seems to have got embroiled in namely the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, along with privacy-sapping gaffes on its own platform, we'd forgive you for raising an eyebrow at Facebook deciding to experiment with things.
However, Facebook is pitching the NPE Team as a division that won't produce the most stable software, adding that it expects to mess stuff up.
"We decided to create this separate developer name to help set the appropriate expectations with people that, 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," said the social network.
"We expect many failures. We also want to minimise disruption to the billions of people who use Facebook apps every day."
We can't argue with that, and at least Facebook has seemingly set its own bar pretty low. And it's not like the company has made apps and then left them to wither or discontinued; we're thinking about the Moments photo service that pulls user pics into one place, but never really took off and got shuttered in February this year.
So yeah good luck NPE Teams, and please stay away from our data. µ
Bad for shareholders, mildly good for the planet
YouTube on the Tube
Claims that it hasn't ever actually worked