Facebook (almost) releases new messaging app Slingshot

Thanks to a slip-up, we now know that the rumours about Facebook’s photo and video messaging app Slingshot are true. The company accidentally added it to Apple’s app store and then quickly pulled it, but not before reporters from some tech sites had a look at it and took screenshots. (Facebook later released a statement confirming the app’s existence and that its release had been premature.)

TechCrunch reports that Slingshot is different from rival apps like Snapchat because you can’t view (or “unlock”) what’s been sent to you until you send (or “sling”) something back. Like Snapchat, you can add your own captions and drawings to images. And of course, once a message has been viewed, it’s gone.

It’s already been compared to rival app Taptalk, which Facebook engineers were allegedly encouraged to er, be inspired by, let’s say. Facebook has been trying to get an image-sharing app of its own off the ground for a while: an earlier attempt called Poke was launched in December 2012, but failed to catch on, and last year, the company made a $3 billion play for Snapchat, which was rejected. Facebook use has plummeted among young people, and given the popularity of Snapchat and co, they can’t be blamed for thinking a messaging app might extend their relevance.

A Facebook spokesperson said that Slingshot would be “ready soon”.

Diane Shipley