Facebook has been known to mess up from time to time and this was one of those occasions. For a very short time, the company rolled out its brand new Snapchat competitor app called Slingshot to the App Store.
The company has been working on this new tool for a while now and it’s not exactly been kept a secret since even the name was known for months. A few weeks back, reports indicated that the app offered ephemeral photos and video messaging and that it would work as a standalone app, separate from the other apps belonging to the company.
According to a snapshot taken by someone who “caught” the app while it was still up in the App Store, things aren’t exactly as rumored, or, at the very least, they’re not explained like that in the description.
“Slingshot lets you quickly share moments – little and big – with all your friends. Shoot a photo or video of what you’re up to and sling it to a bunch of people. They won’t be able to see your shot until they sling something back. Tap on a shot to react, or simply swipe it away,” the description reads.
This means that the tool is truly dedicated to sending pictures and videos for the most part, and there’s a certain privacy element, as well as a heightened engagement level due to the necessity to actually send something back to view the content.
It is unclear, thus far, however, whether or not there is a time limit on how long the messages can be viewed, as it happens with Snapchat, the app Facebook wanted to buy, but couldn’t.
Reports indicate that the tool wasn’t available to US users, but rather to only a few markets around the world, such as Australia and New Zealand, Russia and India. While Facebook admitted that the rollout was a mistake, it didn’t share just how soon the actual, official launch would take place.
People are looking at the entire thing with a dose of skepticism because Facebook seems to be grasping at straws here. When it didn’t manage to buy Snapchat, it decided to build a tool that was similar. There’s even talk about how Facebook’s engineers were trying to shamelessly copy another tool called Taptalk.
The problem with Slingshot is that Facebook is simply banking on its fame and user base for the success of the app, rather than on originality and innovation.