Facebook’s new Slingshot aimed at Snapchat

There are no lurkers in the Slingshot app. It’s Facebook’s latest answer to users’ interest in disappearing (often called “ephemeral”) media and messages. What I mean by “no lurkers” is, as my ConnectSafely co-director Larry Magid explains, unlike Snapchat and Facebook’s now defunct Poke, “in order to view someone’s photo or video, you have to send one back [in Slingshot] Facebook bills the app as ‘a space where everybody is a creator and nobody is just a spectator,’ so if you don’t send an image, you can’t view one.” Like Snapchat, Slingshot can’t keep users from taking screenshots of photos meant to be ephemeral, and Facebook is good to warn users about that.

The safety aspect is solid: Although “anyone who adds you on Slingslot will show up on the list of people who can sling you,” Larry writes, “if you’d rather not see their images, you can hide them by swiping left on the person’s name and tapping hide. If anyone you’ve hidden is harassing you, you can tap the Hidden people section and report the person to Facebook.” [Disclosure: ConnectSafely.org, which I co-direct, is supported by Facebook, Google, TrendMicro and other Internet companies.]

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