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Facebook finally releases Slingshot messaging app

Facebook has once again released its Slingshot messaging app – and this time it won’t self-destruct like one of its messages.

The social network giant appeared to launch Slingshot onto the App Store last week, but then swiftly withdrew it. Now it’s available for good – for US iPhone and Android users, at least.

Slingshot represents Facebook’s latest attempt to emulate the success of Snapchat. Like that popular stand-alone messaging app, Slingshot permits you to instantly send brief video and photo messages, which then self-delete after an initial view.

However, Slingshot’s big push is large-scale participation. It supports sharing with large numbers of people simultaneously, and you can only view the content of a friend’s message once you’ve sent something of your own.

Until then, the person’s video or picture remains as an artfully pixellated still.

It’s also possible to annotate or doodle on your images, adding an extra dose of colour.

As we hinted at earlier, this isn’t the first time Facebook has attempted to snaffle a piece of Snapchat’s success. An earlier attempt, Poke, fell by the wayside, while a $3 billion Snapchat buyout proposal is reported to have been rejected last year.

Facebook’s admiration of the Snapchat approach is evident, so it’s refreshing to see the company tipping its hat to the app on the first official Slingshot blog post.

“We’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,” it reads. “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 now available on the US App Store for iOS 7-equipped devices, and on the US Google Play Store for Jelly Bean and KitKat-loaded Android devices.

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