Remember how Facebook tried, and failed, to acquire Snapchat last year? Apparently so does Mark Zuckerberg; according to The Financial Times he is personally overseeing the development of Facebook’s own ephemeral messaging service, which currently has the name ‘Slingshot’.
So far, Slingshot consists of rumours and hearsay, and Zuck has yet to announce a launch or make any official comment. The FT’s report suggests that the app will be designed primarily for video chat (something which Snapchat recently added to its repertoire) and could be released as early as this month.
A Snapchat-esque messaging app makes perfect sense for a social network which has been haemorrhaging those most coveted users, teenagers. And the timing couldn’t be better, as Snapchat’s reputation has been dealt a rather heavy blow by charges from the Federal Trade Commission. Apparently those vanishing apps don’t always completely vanish, sparking concerns over the privacy of the app’s users.
“Slingshot will definitely upset Snapchat’s growth trajectory, but to what extent is currently unknown,” says Nikhil Subramaniam. “Facebook could do most damage by bundling it into Messenger, rather than releasing it as a standalone app…An added privacy feature would go a long way towards ensuring more engaged users.”
This is all still a matter of speculation, of course. “While the new app appears to be nearly ready for primetime, the launch apparently has yet to be approved,” says Zach Honig at Engadget. “It’s possible that Slingshot may never see the light of day.”