Facebook Slingshot free video messaging to take on Snapchat

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Facebook is said to be entering the video chat app market with the launch of Slingshot.

Going head-to-head with Snapchat, which Facebook failed to acquire last year, the social network is said to have been working on the new application for 'several months', according to the Financial Times.

Like Snapchat, Slingshot allows people to send short video messages to each other with a few taps on the screen. It hasn't been revealed whether the videos will be deleted after a specified amount of time, as is the case on Snapchat.

The app reportedly copies the interface of TapTalk, which displays a grid of your friends' Facebook photos. Users can tap the profile picture to send a picture or press and hold the profile picture to record and send a video message.

In December 2012, Facebook launched a similar app called Poke that, like Snapchat, allowed users to send each other a message, photo, or video to a Facebook friend that was deleted after 10 seconds of viewing.

Facebook acquired social messaging platform WhatsApp for $19bn in February this year, so it's thought some of these features may be integrated into the free messaging app in future.

More than 700 million pieces of content are sent through Snapchat each day, making it one of the most popular apps available on iPhone and Android. In an attempt to take on messaging rival WhatsApp, Snapchat announced text messaging would be introduced to the app in addition to one-way and two-way video chatting earlier this month.

Geoff Blaber, mobile analyst at CCS Insight, told the FT: "When you're coming to market late and trying to compete with what is already a service with a very large user base, it becomes very difficult to close that gap, even for a company like Facebook."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.