Facebook tests vanishing ‘texts’
SAN FRANCISCO—Facebook users in France were able to send vanishing missives with its smartphone Messenger application on Thursday, ramping up the challenge to rival messaging app Snapchat.
“We’re conducting a small test in France of a feature that allows people to send messages that disappear an hour after they’re sent,” Facebook told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
“Disappearing messages give people another fun option to choose from when they communicate on Messenger,” Facebook added.
Tapping an hourglass icon on the top right of the screen in Messenger will allow users to send messages designed to vanish an hour after they are sent.
The feature is being tested on versions of the Messenger app for mobile devices powered by Apple or Android software. If it proves successful, the feature would likely be made available in other countries.
Making ephemeral messages an option in Messenger is a direct challenge to smartphone-messaging rival Snapchat.
Private and ephemeral
Snapchat’s appeal has been the premise that messages disappear shortly after being viewed, providing users a sense of being able to keep pictures or videos private and ephemeral.
Like Instagram, Snapchat allows users to share photos or videos online through social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. What makes it different from Instagram is that it enables users to add captions and doodles to their snaps, so users can create a story and share them with some or all of their friends.
Snapchat rocketed to popularity in the United States, especially among teenagers, after the initial app was released in September 2011.
The Los Angeles-based app rejected a $3-billion takeover offer from Facebook in 2013.
Facebook earlier this year began testing a Messenger app virtual assistant that the leading social network said goes beyond artificial intelligence programs already on the market.
The personal digital assistant—dubbed “M”—completes tasks along with seeking out information at the behest of users. Reports from AFP and Karl Angelica R. Ocampo, Inquirer Social Media
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