Facebook Is Taking Aim At Snapchat—Again

Facebook is trying to lure young chatters with Slingshot, its latest attempt to dethrone Snapchat, a hugely popular “disappearing” messaging application. 

Slingshot appeared in the Apple App Store on Monday, but isn’t available in the U.S. yet. 

The application lets you take and share photos that vanish after the recipient sees them. Sound familiar? Facebook’s new application is neither groundbreaking or unique, but the requirement to send your friend a photo before viewing theirs is how Slingshot differentiates itself from Snapchat. The app also captures “reactions,” so you can show your friends how your face looked after viewing their photo. 

Photos remain in Slingshot for a short period of time. According to the App Store page, once you “swipe” a picture away while browsing, it will no longer be viewable. 

Poke, Facebook’s first attempt to compete with Snapchat failed, and was pulled from app stores earlier this year. The social network has been trying to get an ephemeral messaging feature in its repertoire for a while, and even reportedly offered to buy Snapchat

Slingshot doesn’t claim that messages disappear, but, as we’ve learned with Snapchat, even if companies say something vanishes doesn’t mean it’s gone for good. So if you do want yet another way to sext your friend, just remember your photo might stay on Facebook’s servers, even if your friend can no longer see it. 

Facebook eventually got back to me with this canned statement:

Earlier today, we accidentally released a version of Slingshot, a new app we’re working on.  With Slingshot, you’ll be able to share everyday moments with lots of people at once.  It’ll be ready soon and we’re excited for you to try it out.

Update: Facebook pulled Slingshot from the App Store. 

Lead image by Flickr user Jose Rodriguez; Slingshot image courtesy of the Apple App Store

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