Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is in the lab conjuring up something new. According to reports Zuckerberg is personally overseeing the development of an “ephemeral messaging” app called Slingshot to compete with Snapchat.
Word is Slingshot could be released as early as this month, reports the Financial Times. Since Facebook was unable to convince Snapchat to sell even after a multi-billion dollar bid, Facebook decided to make its own video and picture messaging app.
“News of the apps’ development comes six months after Snapchat reportedly rejected Facebook’s acquisition offer of $3 billion, which was about three times what the social network paid for photo-sharing app Instagram in 2012,” reports CNet.
Snapchat, which was launched two years ago, has been luring teens away from Facebook. It has processed some 400 million send-it-and-forget-it photo and video “snaps” and is estimated to be used by nine percent of adult cell phone owners in the U.S., according to Pew Research.
Facebook had already produced a clone to Snapchat called Poke but it failed to take off and the social media giant recently removed the app from the Apple App Store. So how will Slingshot be better than Poke, which Facebook reportedly created in just 12 hours?
“Slingshot, according to the report, represents a much more concerted effort on Facebook’s part. It’s said that it has been in development for months, and Zuckerberg’s personal involvement, if true, speaks to how important Snapchat is to Facebook,” reports The Verge. Slingshot will also be a standalone mobile app, not tied to the Facebook app. And will be one of the number of high-quality, simple mobile apps the company promised to debut this year. And Creative Labs, Facebook’s group in charge of development efforts, has been producing great apps as of late, such as the popular Paper app.
The app could also get some help from outside forces. Snapchat just settled with the FCC over the fact that its claim to fame — the self-destructing photos that are supposed to disappear forever — actually isn’t true. Some users might be looking for an alternative given this news.
Even Yahoo is getting into the secret-messaging sector as it acquired an app called Blink last week that allows users to send texts, pictures, and audio that self-destruct.