Facebook launches Slingshot to rival Snapchat

Facebook has launched its limited lifetime messaging app Slingshot in the US to rival Snapchat

Facebook has launched its limited lifetime photo and video-messaging app Slingshot for Android and iOS in the US to rival Snapchat.

The official launch of Slingshot in the US comes a week after the app was accidentally made available earlier than planned.  

There is no official word on when Slingshot will be released outside the US, but there are workarounds for Android users to access the app in the UK and elsewhere, according to PC Advisor.

There is no time limit on the images, like Snapchat, but it is no longer available once it has been viewed.

Another difference is that recipients will not be able to see the “shots” they receive until they “sling” something back to the sender. Alternatively they can swipe the shot away without viewing or replying.

The app can be also used without a Facebook account. Instead, users can sign up for the service via their mobile phone number and connect with friends in the phone’s contact list.

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"With Slingshot, we wanted to build something where everybody is a creator and nobody is just a spectator," said the Slingshot team in a blog post.

“We’ve enjoyed using Snapchat to send each other ephemeral messages and expect there to be a variety of apps that explore this new way of sharing.

“With Slingshot, we saw an opportunity to create something new and different: a space where you can share everyday moments with lots of people at once,” the blog post said.

Facebook attempted something similar when it released Poke as a standalone app in 2012. That app enabled users to send text, photos or videos and set a time limit.

After the Poke app failed to get support from Facebook users, the social media firm reportedly attempted to acquire Snapchat for $3bn, prior to acquiring WhatsApp for $19bn.

Slingshot was subsequently developed a Facebook Creative Labs team, and is the second app created under the initiative for forming ad hoc development teams within the business.

The first app created this way was called Paper, which enables users to look through their news feeds item-by-item with the swipe of a finger and tilting their mobile devices left or right.

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