Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

After a spurned attempt to acquire Snapchat for $3 billion last year, Facebook is gearing up to launch its own ephemeral messaging app, internally codenamed "Slingshot". The app, which is said to have a "simple and speedy user interface" (not unlike Snapchat) is designed to take on Snapchat with short video and photo messages that disappear after one viewing. The app has reportedly been in the works for several months, and might launch as early as this month.

While the operation of Snapchat is relatively traditional, Financial Times reports that Slingshot's interface will be even more streamlined:

Slingshot takes a different approach. It is said to resemble TapTalk, a new video-messaging app from Berlin-based Wit Dot Media released last month, in which users tap or hold a contact's profile picture to instantly send a photo or short video, which can be viewed only once by the recipient.

Facebook recently discontinued their standalone Poke and Camera apps for iPhone. They've also launched new apps, like Paper, and separated Messages from the main Facebook app, and promised to launch several more standalone apps that still tie into the Facebook platform.

Unlike Paper which repackages the traditional Facebook feed, and Messages which has been a long-standing feature of Facebook, Slingshot's view-it-and-forget-it model would be a new on for Facebook.

Facebook did recently purchase popular messaging platform WhatsApp for $16 billion, giving them a greater messaging expertise that might be useful in taking on Snapchat.

But the question remains: is a Facebook version of WhatsApp something that's been missing from your life?

Source: Financial Times