Facebook is building a new app that will serve as a direct competitor to Snapchat, according to a report from the Financial Times. The project, which is codenamed "Slingshot", will enable users to send each other pictures or short video messages through a simplified, grid-based interface similar to the one seen in messaging app TapTalk. Like Snapchat, photos and videos can only be taken in real time, and messages disappear after a specified time limit.
Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg is said to be personally overseeing the project, with Slingshot's development coming after Facebook attempted to buy Snapchat for $3 billion last year. The news also follows Facebook's removal of its long defunct Facebook Poke app from the App Store earlier this month, which was the company's first answer to Snapchat. Originally launched in December of 2012, Poke allowed users to send ephemeral photos, videos, text messages, and "poke" notifications to their friends.
According to the report, Slingshot could be released as early as this month on mobile platforms. Facebook previously launched its news content and curation app Paper this past February. The app was the first product to come out of Facebook's Creative Labs initiative.