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Facebook takes on Snapchat with new Poke messaging app

Facebook has just announced Poke, a new app that will let users send messages, photos, or videos that disappear after up to ten seconds. That's very similar to Snapchat, a self-destructing photo messaging app which recently added video messages to its repertoire. Facebook was rumored to be launching a competitor to Snapchat a few days ago, and Poke looks to be that, though Facebook is branding it as an extension to the long-running Poke feature on its site. The "new Poke experience" will allow messages to be sent between Facebook friends on iPhone only, and messages will expire after 1, 3, 5, or 10 seconds after being opened. Like other parts of Facebook, Poke will have a "report" feature for unwanted messages. It's currently live in the iTunes Store.

It looks like Facebook is attempting to undercut the Snapchat practice of taking screenshots of a message by requiring recipients to touch the screen in order to keep it open, but we're still able to take them, and the usual privacy caveats still apply. Like Snapchat, Poke will warn users if a screenshot is taken of their messages. Also like Snapchat, seeing a message requires the Poke app — if you send something to a friend who doesn't have it, they'll be directed to the App Store.

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