It’s Facebook’s attempt to compete against the successful and popular app known as Snapchat. Both feature sending pictures to friends, only allowing them to see the images for a set amount of time before they disappear forever. However Slingshot requires the user to send a picture of their own to be able to view one sent to them—a reply-to-unlock feature. It seems like a hassle to some, making image messaging more time consuming than just replying with a quick pic of the couch.
However, Facebook aims to make Slingshot more of a status update app rather than a messaging app. It caters to users who prefer sharing casual videos and pictures, with a handy select all function—something Snapchat users have been waiting for.
Still, Snapchat users can choose what friends they include on their contacts list, while Slingshot intrusively adds all of your friends, from phone or Facebook—the app experience is less private and more akin to a public spectacle. You can’t pick and choose which friends you add, since they’re all included.
Facebook doesn’t seem to be solidifying people’s trust in their privacy, not with their new tracking of likes
or how Slingshot doesn’t notify you when a friend takes a screenshot of your picture. But it seems that the aim of the app is to be a visual display of a status update, lacking the immediacy of Snapchat’s messaging tone.
Most mobile phone users seem to forget about Instagram’s similar feature called Direct
. The pictures you send don’t disappear forever, but only the people you choose can see them and the filters are better. As the digital world transitions from instant messaging to picture messaging, these apps have a way to go before one of them contains the feature and privacy settings app consumers crave.