It appears that Facebook hasn't yet given up on its dream of having its own app for ephemeral messaging. According to a new report from Financial Times, the company is very close to launching yet another attempt at a Snapchat clone.
FT says that the app is being called Slingshot (internally, at least), and could hit app stores as early as later this month.
If the concept of a Facebook-built app that mimics Snapchat's disappearing message format seems familiar, that's because this wouldn't be the first time the company has attempted such a feat. In December of 2012, Facebook unveiled a standalone app called Poke that allowed users to send short photo and video messages that would vanish after one viewing. An obvious clone of the up-and-coming Snapchat, Poke never really took off. Facebook officially killed the app last week, but the app had, for all intents and purposes, been dead for months.
The people familiar with the plans for Slingshot claim that the app has been in development for months, and that it is a much more serious attempt to snag some users away from Snapchat than Poke ever was (Poke was reportedly created and launched in less than a day).
In this arena, Facebook's working from an "if ya can't buy em, beat em" strategy. Reports indicated that Facebook attempted to acquire Snapchat for about $3 billion late last year, but were turned down. Facebook no doubt sees Snapchat as a major competitor–and they should. Snapchat pushes the biggest volume of messages, by volume, in the country right now.
This news comes just months after Facebook's acquisition of another top messaging competitor, WhatsApp.
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