Facebook is reportedly working on a video messaging app as it looks to win back younger users lost to ‘ephemeral messaging’ app Snapchat, the maker of which it reportedly tried to buy for $3 billion in November last year.
Financial Times sources said the app is known internally as Slingshot and allows users to send and receive short video messages which can only be viewed once. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is believed to be overseeing the project.
There appears to be uncertainty about when the service could launch, with one source saying it could be launched this month, with another saying Facebook is yet to decide whether to launch Slingshot.
If it does emerge, Slingshot is likely to be offered as a separate app from Facebook Messenger as the social network looks to develop more standalone mobile services through its Creative Labs initiative.
It emerged last week that Facebook’s Poke app, which, like Snapchat, sent images that were deleted after being viewed, was pulled from Apple’s App Store.
The app, which was launched in December 2012, was met with a lacklustre response, likely to have been down to Snapchat’s dominance of the market segment.
Yahoo is also looking to get a foothold in the ephemeral messaging market, recently announcing its acquisition of Blink, which allows users to send text, photo and video messages that self-destruct once they have been viewed by recipients.
The $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp, the world’s most popular messaging app with more than 500 million monthly active users, is Facebook’s biggest play to gain influence on the fast-growing messaging app market to date.