Facebook launches Snapchat-like Slingshot service
Facebook couldn’t acquire Snapchat, so the company’s decided to play its rival instead: by way of a new Slingshot app.
Lynn Schindler | On 19, Jun 2014
Facebook has succeeded in its social media objectives, but other text messaging companies have come along and won the hearts of today’s generation. Two of these, WhatsApp and Snapchat, have been a thorn in Facebook’s side. Facebook finally acquired WhatsApp earlier this year with a stern warning by the Federal Communications Commission. As for Snapchat? Mark Zuckerberg’s company couldn’t buy Snapchat, even when it promised $3 billion for the disappearing photo and video company last fall.
In response to Facebook’s desire to buy the company, Snapchat realized its potential and decided to add MMS and video chat capabilities to its already-successful app. Previously, Snapchat users were confined to small texts only, but the new update provided last month allows Snapchat users to pretty much do it all without ever visiting Facebook Messenger.
Now, Facebook’s back with its own response: today, the Zuckerberg-led company launched Slingshot, a new service that allows you to “sling” a text message back to someone who first “slings” one to you. However, there is a catch to all of this “slinging”: even if someone sends you a text or MMS with a picture or video, you can’t access it until you respond in return.
According to the Slingshot app creators, “With Slingshot, we wanted to build something where everybody is a creator, and nobody is just a spectator. When everyone participates, there’s less pressure, more creativity and even the little things in life can turn into awesome shared experiences.” The Slingshot team also praised Snapchat for its innovation and, implicitly, credits Snapchat with the existence of Facebook’s new app.
Slingshot will be available in the US for iPhones running iOS 7 and Android devices running Android 4.1-4.3 Jelly Bean or Android 4.4.2 KitKat or 4.4.3, Google’s latest update to Android. Slingshot will, like all other Facebook apps, make its way across the world in the coming days and weeks.