Facebook’s new Slingshot messaging app, the one that forces friendship through a special reciprocation mechanic, has today launched worldwide. Originally, the app was only available in select areas.
Slingshot is another poke at Snapchat, which has proven to be a real threat to Facebook, especially given that Snapchat doesn’t rely on Facebook or integrate with their APIs in any way.
The new app lets you send photo and video messages with your friends, complete with doodles and effects, but there’s one catch. You can’t view the content of an inbound message until you’ve sent that person a response.
In other words, Facebook doesn’t want its products to make you sad anymore.
The app launched to a mixed reception, with some excited about the “reply-to-unlock” feature and others predicting yet another Facebook flop. Personally, I think Slingshot is a fine app, but I doubt it’ll be big.
For one, you can’t force people to take pictures in order to use your app. Some people are much more comfortable in the position of consumer, and forcing alternative behavior may simply alienate them.
Plus, Facebook simply doesn’t feel like the hot new thing, no matter how many new apps they pump out. Young people, the target demographic for Slingshot, want to be in on the trend, and Facebook hasn’t been trendy since 2008. (Unless you’re in Finance.)