"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again" is the strategy Facebook has taken to fend off Snapchat, the upstart Los Angeles ephemeral messaging app.
Facebook on Monday released, then quickly removed, its second mobile app designed to compete against Snapchat, whose app enables users to send each other photo, video and text messages that disappear shortly after they are opened.
The Menlo Park, Calif., social giant first tried to clone Snapchat in late 2012 with an app called Poke, but it quickly fell out of relevance and Facebook killed it last month. Facebook also made two multibillion-dollar offers to acquire Snapchat, but the start-up rejected both deals.
In recent years, Facebook has seen its younger users turn to other apps to get their social networking fix, and Snapchat has proven particularly popular among them. Snapchat's most recent major update caused one school teacher to tweet: "In 16 years of teaching I can't think of anything that has ever disrupted my classroom more than today's @snapchat update."
That's why Facebook is so concerned with Snapchat and why it is working on a second clone. The new app is called Slingshot, and it was pulled just hours after it was released "accidentally" Monday.
"With Slingshot, you'll be able to share everyday moments with lots of people at once," a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. "It'll be ready soon and we're excited for you to try it out."
Just like Snapchat, Slingshot enables users to send each other photo and video messages that they can annotate with drawings and captions. The messages disappear after they are viewed, according to TechCrunch. But unlike on Snapchat, Slingshot users can only see their friends' messages after they "sling" a message back.