It has been rumored for quite some time now that Facebook is working on a Snapchat competitor. Facebook initially wanted to acquire the popular ephemeral messaging service but it turned down the $3 billion offer. Earlier this month the social network accidentally published its new app by mistake and that’s when we got to know its going to be called Slingshot. Today Slingshot has officially been launched and according to Facebook its not quite like Snapchat.
It differs from Snapchat on core functionality. In Slingshot users can not view a photo that they have received unless they send one back. Snapchat doesn’t place that restriction and users don’t necessarily have to send one back to be able to view what they receive.
Slingshot’s product designer Joey Flynn tells Bloomberg that Facebook believes this is a completely different type of product. “It’s half about you expressing yourself and half about nudging the people you’re sharing with to say I also want to hear about you,” he says.
Facebook has positioned the app separately from its social network. Users don’t necessarily have to be on Facebook to use Slingshot, they can easily share self-destructing images with people that are in their phone’s contacts.