Facebook Launches Snapchat Competitor Slingshot

Slingshot is the second app from Facebook Creative Labs.

Facebook continues to expand its slate of consumer apps with the Tuesday launch of Slingshot, a Snapchat-like messaging service that lets people send self-destructing photos and videos to friends. 

But Slingshot has a twist: recipients of a message are forced to sling a response back before they can view the photo initially sent to them. 

"With Slingshot, we wanted to build something where everybody is a creator and nobody is just a spectator," the team behind the app wrote in a blog post. "When everyone participates, there's less pressure, more creativity and even the little things in life can turn into awesome shared experiences." 

Slingshot comes out of Facebook Creative Labs, an initiative at the Palo Alto-based social network that lets small teams develop apps that expand the Facebook experience. The first project from Creative Labs was news reader app Paper, which launched in January. Facebook also offers standalone chat app Messenger. 

Facebook first looked to capitalize on the success of disappearing photo apps like Snapchat with the 2012 launch of Poke, a Snapchat clone that never caught on. The Mark Zuckerberg-led tech giant later tried to buy Snapchat for $3 billion, an offer that the Venice startup ultimately spurned. 

Snapchat, meanwhile, has been updating its popular app with new features that create more lasting interactions. Last year it launched My Story, a timeline of photos and videos that lasts for up to 24 hours. Then it added photo and video messaging capabilities in May.

Today, it announced Our Story, which lets people collaborate to add photo and video posts to a timeline for a specific event. The feature will roll out this weekend at Electric Daisy Festival in Las Vegas, where Snapchat will also provide free WiFi to attendees.