Being apart from your special someone—especially during a lockdown—can put a strain on the relationship. Enter Tuned, a messaging platform released by Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) team for long-distance couples.
The iOS application provides “a private space where you and your significant other can just be yourselves.” Both parties must download and sign into the program (but don’t appear to need a Facebook account) to access any features beyond setting your mood (different colors offer different feelings).
“With Tuned, you can be as mushy, quirky, and silly as you are together in person, even when you’re apart,” the App Store description explains. “Creatively express your love, share your mood, exchange music, and build a digital scrapbook of your special moments.”
It’s unclear how this is really that different from any other social network—including Facebook and its subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp, the latter of which lets you record and send voice memos along with photos, videos, and text. Perhaps the knowledge that this is aimed at couples gives people a certain peace of mind. There is no reason Tuned can’t be accessed by any pair of friends or family members, as well.
Facebook launched its NPE Team in July last year with the promise of a number of prototype apps for iOS, Android, and the web. Previous platforms, as reported by The Information, include a matchmaking app for students, a meme-creation tool, and the Pinterest-esque Hobbi.
Tuned was released under the separate brand “to help set the appropriate expectations with users that NPE Team apps will change very rapidly and may be shut down if we learn that they’re not useful to people,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Information. After only two days of being available, Tuned has split opinion, with as many five-star ratings as one-star reviews being left on the app store.