Facebook reportedly working on Snapchat competitor codenamed ‘Slingshot’

By , May 18, 2014

Facebook iOS 7

Facebook is working on a new mobile application for video and ephemeral messaging, according to a report from the Financial Times. The outlet says the app is being referred to as ‘Slingshot’ internally, and is intended to go head-to-head with Snapchat.

Snapchat rejected an acquisition offer from Facebook last year worth some $3 billion, explaining that it wanted to hold out for more money. The social network has since bought messaging giant WhatsApp, but it obviously still feels that something’s missing…

Here’s more from the Financial Times:

Facebook has been working for several months on the app, known internally as Slingshot, with a simple and speedy user interface, according to people familiar with its plans. 

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief, has been overseeing the top-secret project after failing to woo Snapchat’s creators Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy with a $3bn takeover offer late last year. 

The app allows users to send short video messages with just a couple of taps of the screen. Slingshot could be launched this month, one person said, while cautioning that Facebook might still decide not to proceed with the product. 

Facebook first tried to take on Snapchat in late 2012 with Poke, an app that duplicated its rival’s formula with photos and videos that disappeared after 10 seconds. It unfortunately couldn’t duplicate Snapchat’s success; Facebook pulled the Poke app last week.

Snapchat-flashy-features

According to FT, ‘Slingshot’ will be a far more concerted effort. The report suggests that, should it launch, Facebook would be confident enough in the app to launch it standalone from its primary and Messenger clients, which both sit atop Apple’s US App Store.

Some folks may wonder why Facebook is still so concerned with building a Snapchat competitor, given that it just paid a lot of money for WhatsApp. The answer is that Snapchat still has a significant lead in an area where Facebook is struggling: teen engagement.

The Financial Times says the ‘Slingshot’ app could launch as early as this month.

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  • onesimpleclickk

    So, they turned down the offer to buy Snapchat for $3Billion, & now they are going to make an app, that they hope will be as successful as Snapchat is?
    They already tried this before with Poke, and that was an absolute failure.

    • Palmer Paul

      SC turned down the offer, not FB…

      • onesimpleclickk

        Thanks, I stand corrected. Snapchat did, which was probably the worst thing they could have done. No one wants them now.

  • Jeremy

    Facebook is dead anyways.

    • http://www.liam-merlyn.co.uk/ ConduciveMammal

      Got any stats to back that up?
      Considering a recent stat check showed that there are 1.3 billion active users. “Active” being the keyword.

      • Jeremy

        I mean for most of the younger users (Under 30). It’s mostly used by parents and grandparents now, at least in my case.

      • Sean Clark

        uncool ≠ dead

      • FoneSoneDone

        All my friends are under 30. They all use Facebook.

  • ghetto McKee

    If you’re gonna hit the king, you better kill the king.

    • Chun-Li aka ThunderThighs

      Well said

  • http://the-david.com/ David Christenson

    Hmm, I hadn’t heard that they finally killed Poke. I was surprised that a company as large and influential as Facebook was able to fail so completely with that, even before Snapchat became big.

  • http://www.issuu.com/vicener Vicener

    Slingshot?

    Right… Because Poke worked so well for them.

    I think Facebook needs to stop trying to create “me too” services and focus on improving their already existing apps and the website.

    I mostly access Facebook from their mobile app, but when I go to the desktop I just don’t feel comfortable using the site. Maybe it’s the way you interact with the content or the layout. But I think it would be best for them to put the effort they’re going to, let’s be honest, waste on Slingshot on their desktop site and continuing to improve their apps.

    • Palmer Paul

      And I mostly use FB from my laptop, and I find the mobile version unusable. So there you go… it’s just about what one is used to.

      • http://www.issuu.com/vicener Vicener

        But you see, right there lays the problem.
        Switching from web to mobile should be seamless, but Facebook has issues with that.
        I’m not saying either experience is perfect, but FB needs to improve on both.

  • Khanh

    “The outlet says the app is being referred to as ‘Slinghshot’ internally,”

    It should say Slingshot, not slinghshot.

  • mahe

    For me the problem with poke was that you’ve always seen every Facebook friend in the list, regardless if he/she has poke installed or not …

    So to whom should I send a poke if I don’t know that this person has it?

    On the other hand, I often got a push notification about a poke but I never got one … (nobody loves me *cry* xD)