Facebook launches new Snapchat-inspired Slingshot app to international audience

Users who receive messages must return the favour before they view what’s sent to them

Wed, Jun 25, 2014, 14:40

Facebook has finally launched its new Snapchat-inspired Slingshot app to an international audience, more than a week after it first became available to smartphone users in the US.

Much like Snapchat, Slingshot allows users to send and receive images and videos that are only displayed for a limited amount of time before disappearing. However, Facebook’s newest venture, which is available free of charge to iOS 7 iPhone users or Android phones with Jelly Bean or KitKat installed, differs in that users who receive messages must return the favour before they can view messages sent to them.

Slingshot users need not have an active Facebook account either, as other users can be identified by their phone numbers as is the basis upon which the social media giant’s latest acquisition, WhatsApp, operates.

It’s the latest in Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg’s growing portfolio of social media applications after his company went on a spending spree to purchase WhatsApp and Instagram, another popular photo-based utility, for what is thought to be a combined total of around $20 billion.

This latest move comes as no surprise to tech aficionados after Facebook’s takeover offer for Snapchat, reportedly in the region of $3 billion, was rebuffed late last year.

Any replication of Snapchat’s success would prove a more than welcome addition to the Facebook stable, given that the original ephemeral instant messaging app now has well in excess of 30 million users worldwide according to latest company statistics.