Facebook goes live with its Snapchat killer Slingshot

18 Jun 20141 Share

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Social network Facebook has officially launched its Slingshot messaging app for iOS and Android devices in the US, enabling users to fire and forget photos, videos and messages with impunity. But there is a catch.

Unlike Snapchat, whose messages disappear after being viewed, users of Slingshot will have to reply with a message before they can see the intended original message.

The launch comes a week after the app was accidentally on purpose leaked onto the Apple App Store.

Slingshot lets users send photos and 15-second videos to friends. The content disappears after being viewed although creators can auto-save what they create.

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

“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.

“Photos and videos that don’t stick around forever allow for sharing that’s more expressive, raw and spontaneous. We can connect the same way we like to live: in the moment.

“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.

“To get started on Slingshot, shoot a photo or video. It can be what you’re up to, who you’re with or a quick selfie. Add some text and colour, then sling it to a bunch of friends. Here’s the deal: friends won’t be able to see your shot until they sling something back to you. They can then reply with a reaction – or simply swipe your shot away.”

The app was created in the past six months after a hackathon at Facebook.

The app is available today starting in the US only on iPhone (iOS7) and Android (Jelly Bean and KitKat) at sling.me/download 

Facebook has given no indication as to when the app will be available for users outside the US.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com