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As Facebook relaunches Slingshot, can it claw back Snapchat users?

Hayley Minn Gadgets & Apps Leave a Comment

Facebook is making its third attempt to claw back Snapchat users, with its release of Slingshot, but will anyone actually use it, or will it end up on the bottom of the scrap heap, like Poke and Paper?

The app works by allowing users to send disappearing photo and video messages. Sound familiar? However, the main difference between Snapchat and Slingshot is that Slingshot won’t let you see new messages until you send one of your own back to the sender. Facebook says the reason behind this is to take the pressure off users to constantly read and send messages. But, to us, it sounds like, by forcing people to send responses to messages they haven’t yet seen, Facebook is essentially holding your messages hostage in the hopes of increasing engagement.

Launching Slingshot immediately takes you to the app’s camera. The selfie button toggles between the device’s front and rear-facing cameras, and holding down the shutter button allows you to record a video. As with Snapchat, you can add drawings and text to the photos and videos you send.

Unlike Facebook’s other standalone apps, Slingshot does not solely rely on your Facebook friends list for contacts. Like Snapchat, accounts are tied to your phone number, but you can send your pictures to anyone without them accepting you as a Slingshot contact, unlike Snapchat, where you need to be approved.

Honestly, we’re not completely sold on the idea of Slingshot, just because it seems like a final desperate attempt from Facebook to gain the ‘younger’ audience back. The problem is that audience already have Snapchat, so this seems like a pointless addition. We could be wrong, and Slingshot could totally catch on, but we’ll have to wait to find out, as the app doesn’t seem to have launched in the UK just yet.

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By Hayley Minn | June 18th, 2014