Facebook’s new Slingshot app forces users to reciprocate

sling2Facebook is taking another poke at the disappearing photo market with a new app for iOS and Android called Slingshot.

Like Snapchat and Facebook’s Poke, an ill-fated Snapchat clone, Slingshot photos don’t stick around forever but disappear after they’re viewed unless they are unlocked in which case they stick around for 30 days.  Shots that are not viewed disappear automatically after 30 days.

Must reciprocate

But the twist with Slingshot is that in order to view someone’s photo or video, you have to send one back.  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.

You can shoot a photo or a video and there is a “selfie” option that automatically turns on your front-facing camera. Once you snap a photo or record a video, you can add some text, draw on it or add an emoticon and then send it to one or more friends, but they won’t see it until they “sling” something back.

Homage to Snapchat

In a blog post announcing the new product, the Slingshot crew (Joey Flynn, Rocky Smith and Will Ruben) paid homage to the competition saying that they’ve “enjoyed using Snapchat to send each other ephemeral messages and expect there to be a variety of apps that explore this new way of sharing,” adding that, “with Slingshot, we saw an opportunity to create something new and different: a space where you can share everyday moments with lots of people at once.”

Slingshot is the second app from Facebook’s Creative Labs project, joining the inaugural app called Paper. Though owned by Facebook, Slingshot is a stand-alone app that does not require a Facebook account but rather requires its own sign-up via your mobile device.

Sling responsibly and hide and report trolls

The app’s help page warns users to “Please keep in mind that people can also take screenshots of your shots, so share responsibly.”

Anyone who adds you on Slingslot will show up on the list of people who can sling you and, 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 them to Facebook.

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