Facebook goofs, unintentionally publishes new Slingshot app

Last year, Facebook reportedly tried to purchase ephemeral messaging app Snapchat, and despite the $3B on the table, the company turned down the offer. Facebook has since moved on to new (and much more expensive) messaging acquisitions, but apparently its interest in Snapchat hasn’t waned. Earlier today, in fact, Facebook released a new app called Slingshot that appeared to take more than a little inspiration from Snapchat, but in the hours that followed the app has since disappeared. What’s going on here?

Slingshot turned up on the Apple App Store for users in numerous markets around the globe, but notably not for those in the United States. Shortly thereafter, it vanished altogether. Facebook ultimately confirmed that the app was published accidentally, and it had not yet meant to make it publicly available.

OK, so we got an early preview, then; but what is Slingshot? The app lets users caption and share photos and videos, with similar view-it-and-it’s-gone behavior to Snapchat. The key difference appears to be a need for users to share content in order to unlock messages sent to them by others, encouraging active users over those who would otherwise just be passive consumers.

There’s no official word on when Slingshot may return (and for good this time), nor of an ETA on versions for other platforms (knowing Facebook, those can be expected – at least for Android), but the company insists that the public release of the app will “be ready soon.”

Source: The Verge

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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!