One of the largest social networking sites in history, Facebook, is reported to be in the process of building a rival service to Snapchat, code-named Slingshot. Facebook initially tried to purchase Snapchat from its creators but failed. The Financial Times report that the app will behave very similarly to Snapchat. It will enable users to send photos or videos to a contact that will only be able to viewed once prior to deletion. In 2012, Facebook launched a service to compete with Snapchat called Poke. The service did not elicit much of a response with the user database, according to a report released during that time illustrating that people were uploading 50 million more images on Snapchat than Facebook daily.
Prior to building a rival for Snapchat, Facebook attempted to purchase the app for $3 billion, but the offer was turned down. The offer of $3 billion is three times larger than what the company paid to acquire the popular photo-sharing app, Instagram. Snapchat did run into some adversity following the refusal to sell. The servers to the company were hacked and information of approximately 4.6 million users was stolen. Then users began to discover that one could save videos and photos sent via the service without letting the sender know, contradicting the fundamental utility promised by the application. Snapchat has since resolved these issues of privacy with the FTC.
According to the Financial Times, Mark Zuckerberg is personally supervising the effort to construct the “ephemeral messaging app.” Not many details have been disclosed, but the app will take just a few clicks from users to share videos and pictures that will disappear after one view. If the gossip is true, The Verge states that the app could be released as early as next month. Zuckerberg called the previous iteration, Poke, “a joke.” It has been widely reported that Poke was developed in only 12 hours. The app has since been discontinued. According to the report from FT, Slingshot serves as a more serious and effort-intensive endeavor.
The app that Facebook is building to rival Snapchat, is rumored by the report to be a standalone application for mobile devices, separate from the main Facebook app and website. Zuckerberg promised a selection of easy-to-use, high-quality mobile apps this year. Creative Labs was appointed as the company’s group in charge of these efforts. The group hit previous success with the popular app named, Paper. The Verge described the appeal for Facebook to build a rival for Snapchat as “obvious.” Citing that the app is wildly popular with the adolescent demographic, which has been the fuel behind Facebook’s success. The internet news source also stated that the decision to build this app is indicative of Facebook attempting to capitalize on the expanding mobile markets. Facebook has not yet offered a comment on the release of the information. Zuckerberg also recently stated that he wanted Facebook to behave more like a “personalized newspaper.” He cited data that shows users desire for more quality news stories and fewer “memes.” Zuckerberg also stated that although users have gone to other apps to keep in touch with friends, the number of users logging onto Facebook has not dwindled in the slightest.
By Andres Loubriel