Facebook Creative Labs has launched a new app that does not require a Facebook login and that might become the competitor to take on the now popular sharing app, Snapchat. The new app is called Slingshot where users can simply login with their phone numbers and contact list to use the new application. The app also has the option for users to connect with Facebook friends that also use the app, but this is not required.
Slingshot lets users take a picture and share it, the picture will then disappear within a few seconds. This is similar to Snapchat, which Facebook offered to buy for $3 billion last year, but was turned down by its owners and co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy. According to Business Insider, Snapchat has approximately 30 million active users and 60 million installs, and it receives more than 400 million messages each day.
Although a new competitor, the new Facebook app is somewhat different than Snapchat. According to Reuters, with Slingshot users must first share content before they are allowed to view messages sent to them. This will require everyone using the app to contribute photos or videos, there are no passive users with this new app. Once a user takes a photo and adds a little bit of creativity by drawing or adding text or color, and sends the content to their friends, then the user is allowed to unlock friends’ feeds of photos or videos. If the user does not wish to send a sling back, the message can just be swiped away and deleted.
This is Facebook’s second attempt on a new app to take on Snapchat. The first attempt, according to Techcrunch, was in 2012. Previously the company giant had released an app called Poke that was also similar to Snapchat. The app let users snap photos or send text that would be deleted within a few seconds, but Poke turned out not to be so popular. The app required users to sign in with their Facebook profile and it was unknown for long the social media server kept the content that was sent. In addition, the app used the same terms of service as Facebook. The company expressed that the data sent was encrypted and kept for a small period of time to support any abuse reporting. Furthermore, according to some answers in the Help Community of Facebook, the app let users see their Poke history by going on their activity log. Hence, data was still available for users to go back and check their content. Poke was on the app stores of both iOS and Android systems for only over a year. Facebook pull the plug on the app in May, 2014 after it dropped significantly on the apps markets’ rankings.
Facebook’s Slingshot is now available for iPhone and Android devices, and it is expected to become the new competitor that Snapchat will take on. Slingshot’s mission is for people to share their experiences with many other users all at once, as they said in their blog; they want people to share what they experience in the moment.
By Marcia Villavicencio