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Facebook slings its new photo/video messaging service to rival Snapchat

WASHINGTON -- Facebook released Tuesday a new instant messaging app that enables users to send photos or video to selected friends who can only see them if they send an image back.

Slingshot, available for Apple and Android devices, is the second product to come out of the social networking website's Creative Labs ideas laboratory.

“Shoot a photo or video of what you're up to and sling it to a bunch of friends,” reads the Slingshot blurb on Apple's iTunes app store.

“They won't be able to see your shot until they sling something back.”

Not unlike Snapchat, which Facebook tried but failed to acquire last year for US$3 billion, Slingshot photos and video self-destruct after viewing — although there's nothing stopping a recipient from using a smartphone's screenshot feature to copy a photo.

“Photos and videos that don't stick around forever allow for sharing that's more expressive, raw and spontaneous,” blogged the app's developers on Slingshot's dedicated www.sling.me website.

“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 comes four months after Paper, the first app out of Creative Labs, which seeks to give Facebook more of a magazine feeling for mobile device users.

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