Facebook re-enters 'ephemeral messaging' fray with Slingshot

Facebook re-enters ‘ephemeral messaging’ fray with Slingshot

18 JUN 2014

Facebook launched the second standalone app from its Creative Labs team, a photo and video messaging app called Slingshot which offers a slightly different take on so-called ‘ephemeral messaging’.

Users can send pictures or videos to one or more people but recipients of content must respond with a comment, image or video of their own in order to view what has been sent to them.

Images are deleted once they have been sent or viewed, although users can select an option to keep them on their device. Users can also add captions or drawings over received images.

A Facebook account is not needed to use Slingshot, as users can connect to friends via their phone number. They can also use the Facebook contacts list to connect.

“With Slingshot, we wanted to build something where everybody is a creator and nobody is just a spectator. When everyone participates, there’s less pressure, more creativity and even the little things in life can turn into awesome shared experiences. This is what Slingshot is all about,” the team behind the new app said in a blog post.

Slingshot has been initially launched for iOS 7 and the latest two versions of Android (Jelly Bean and KitKat) in the US.

Ephemeral messaging apps — that destroy images shortly after they have been viewed — have become increasingly popular, with Snapchat the most prominent. Facebook was reported to have had a $3 billion acquisition bid rejected by Snapchat in November last year.

Facebook previously offered Poke, an app similar in functionality to Snapchat which launched in December 2012. However, Poke was pulled from Apple’s App Store in May following a lacklustre  response.

Creative Labs was set up to develop more standalone mobile services offered by Facebook. The first app to emerge was Paper, which allows users to “explore and share stories from friends and the world around you” with sections for photos, videos, and longer written posts.


Tim Ferguson

Tim joined Mobile World Live in August 2011 and works across all channels, with a particular focus on apps. He came to the GSMA with five years of tech journalism experience, having started his career as a reporter... More

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