Facebook takes another shot at Snapchat with Slingshot revamp

  • AFP
  • Updated: Dec 05, 2014 17:18 IST

In another attempt to out-Snapchat, the ephemeral messaging app of choice for most of the world's teenagers, Facebook has added a host of new features.

Now, as well as sending direct, time-limited messages and images, Slingshot users can view a 24-hour feed of their friends' posts -- or as Facebook calls them, ‘Slings' -- rather like Snapchat's Stories feature.

However, there is a subtle twist in terms of presentation, anyway. There's no need to select an individual friend in order to view posts; all recent posts from friends are grouped together in a grid. And there's also the option to discover and follow others beyond a user's contacts book.

Perhaps the most unusual new feature, considering that at its core, Slingshot is meant to be ephemeral moments, is the ability to look back on the last day's posts and share them via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

In a blogpost announcing the rejuvenated app, the Slingshot crew said that the changes were based on what existing users wanted: "With Slingshot we originally set out to create a place where you could share real, raw moments with your friends. Since we released the first version we have been listening to all of the great feedback from our community and have been cranking away at a big update."

Slingshot initially launched in June and attempted to set itself apart form other ephemeral messaging apps by forcing users to reply with a photo or video in order to see a post sent by a friend. At the time its product manager, Will Ruben said that the reason for the feature was because: "it's an app where everyone is a creator and no one is a spectator."

Users didn't like this aspect of the app and the ‘reply to unlock' feature was soon retired.

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