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The Social Media App To Rival Snapchat Is Here

Facebook finally takes the wraps off Slingshot

Facebook last week shocked the social media world after accidentally ‘launching’ their new app Slingshot last week. Due to this mistake by the social media giants, Facebook has now officially unveiled the app to rival the popular Snapchat, in a new attempt at tackling the ‘ephemeral messaging’ market. Despite criticism for its ‘pay to play’ mechanic, Facebook feels as if this is a huge market with massive potential.

Facebook Slingshot
Source: peppergang.com

The app is free, but currently only available in the US, and it lets the user send videos and images to Facebook friends or contacts from their phone book. After taking a photo the user can draw on the image or add text on the page, with a limit of 140 characters. Unlike Snapchat there is no timer on the messages but as soon as the user moves onto the next message, the previous one disappears.

Although it has some positive similarities to Snapchat, it has come in for criticism due to a new mechanism that means that users can’t see a photo sent to them until they reply with their own. The original images are shown as pixelated previews, and recipients have to reply with an image to unlock the message. Facebook’s logic behind this idea is that it will encourage participation, but early users have been less than impressed.

The app’s creators wrote a press release in which they stated: “With Slingshot, we wanted to build something where everybody is a creator and nobody is just a spectator.” They then added: “When everyone participates, there’s less pressure, more creativity and even the little things in life can turn into awesome shared experiences.”

Despite the attempts at trying to win the audience with their press release, there was still criticism for the app, and one user wrote: “The unlock twist on Slingshot is super annoying. Forced engagement tricks drive users to leave.” This logically constructed argument was followed up by another disgruntled user who declared that he was “stuck in an infinite loop of bad 30 something dude selfies.”

Facebook Slingshot
Source: dailydot.com

Slingshot’s designer Joey Flynn defended the app’s mechanic, and said that users shouldn't think of it as a messaging tool, but rather as a personalised version of Facebook’s news feeds. He stated that Slingshot stripped away the automatically generated notifications and delivers a more up-to-date news feed, with a personalised touch.

There have been some positives for Facebook, as the app has received praise for its smooth animation, and also its use of sound effects when the user draws on an image. Others features are lacking or non-existent though, and there is no notification on whether or not a screenshot has been taken.

All this criticism seems to be harsh though, as it is still very early days, and the app has not even been launched in the UK as of yet. What is does signify is Facebook’s determination to take a hold of the mobile market, and this latest move comes after Facebook reportedly made an offer to purchase Snapchat. This offer was turned down, and now Snapchat has a direct competitor for their mobile messaging crown.

Alex is an English Literature and Sociology undergraduate whose love for written word has led him to write about some obscure topics in his time. Currently a content writer at Social Media Frontiers, be sure to follow him @AlexSatSMF.

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The Social Media App To Rival Snapchat Is Here Reviewed by Unknown on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 Rating: 5
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