Facebook has released yet another app for the iOS platform, and this one was apparently created in just twelve days by Zuckerberg and a small team of coders. The new app is called Facebook Poke, and is essentially a Snapchat clone. The story is that Facebook attempted to buy Snapchat’s tiny team of five, but the team chose to stay independent. So, Facebook decided to simply build its own Snapchat like app.
Facebook Poke is a mobile messaging app which can be used for sending pokes, messages (120 char), photos and videos (up to 10 seconds). However, like in Snapchat, the message self-destructs seconds (1,3,5, or 10 seconds) after the recipient views it. It also has a screenshot alert that notifies the sender if you attempt to screenshot the message.
In less than a day after Poke was launched, it has climbed to the #1 spot among free apps in the App Store, with Snapchat staying at #9 position. Poke is tightly integrated with the Facebook graph, and the Facebook brand name alone is strong enough to drive millions of downloads. However, the are a couple of areas of concern with Poke that might hold users back from jumping ships. Snapchat allows users to use custom usernames. On the other hand, Facebook Poke displays your real name, which is pulled from your Facebook profile. The other concern is related with data retention. Snapchat promises to delete your messages as soon as possible after the message is transmitted. Facebook on the other hand holds onto the message for two days after they have been seen by the last recipient, and after that it deletes the encryption key making the message inaccessible for everyone. However, the encryption key might persist in backups for up to 90 days. This if of course better than the standard Facebook terms of service, which grants the company liberty to store your content for as long as you have an account. But, will it be good enough for an app, which is meant for sharing the intimate photos you don’t want to be committed to record?