Facebook Rolls Out Poke App For iPhone, Its Snapchat Clone

December 24, 2012 0

Los Angeles — Barely a week after rumors cropped up about a Facebook product that mimics the hot new app Snapchat, the social network giant over the weekend announced the launch of the Poke app for the iPhone and iPod Touch that lets you send messages, photos and videos to your friends on the social networking service that disappear within 10 seconds of someone opening them.

Last week, news was ripe that Facebook has reinvented its Poke feature with a new standalone clone of the controversial feature with a new product called Poke for iOS.

As regular Facebook users, you might probably remember poking as perhaps the most annoying thing that Facebook allowed you to do — or allowed to be done to you. While it might have been a while since any of your friends on Facebook have used the feature in a long time, but now, however, Facebook is resurrecting it and spinning it into a new mechanism that does not just subtly ping you, but sends over a private piece of content with an expiration date.

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Describing the release, the company said, “With the Poke app, you can poke or send a message, photo, or video to Facebook friends to share what you are up to in a lightweight way,” says Facebook. “You can poke an individual friend or several at once. Each message expires after a specific time you have set, either 1, 3, 5, or 10 seconds. When time runs out, the message disappears from the app.”

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Image courtesy of Facebook — {japopup type=”image” content=”images/stories/demo/2012/dec/poke-app-copy-big.jpg” width=”700″ height=”380″ title=”image” }Click to enlarge…{/japopup}

This newly released Poke application, which landed on the App Store recently, adopted the concept made popular by another mobile app called SnapChat, which also erases messages once they are viewed and has millions of users who send roughly 50 million messages a day.

However, there is a catch, that is the message can last for only one second to a maximum of 10 seconds. but, you can choose the amount of time it lasts. Also it seems that the message can be only 120 characters long. When you are sending a message you will see the amount of time on the top center of your message. Click on it to choose how much time you want the message to last.

And is Facebook going to be storing these messages? Well not really. According to this TechCrunch post, Pokes are encrypted, and Facebook deletes the encryption keys two days after they’re read so they’re unreadable. Key backups are destroyed within 90 days, making a poke completely inaccessible.

As a matter of fact, to protect its users from getting spammed, Facebook has taken precautions against people sending messages that are too naughty or just plain disturbing. Users can click on the gear icon on the top left hand side of the app and click on report/block if they get a message they do not like something they receive.

Facebook makes no attempt to shield this as anything other than a Snapchat clone. It is eventually coded with help from CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Poke joins a handful of other standalone Facebook apps, including Instagram, Messenger and Camera.

Nevertheless, apps like Snapchat and Poke certainly have utility for some people, especially considering how much trouble a person can get into if the wrong kind of message surfaces beyond its intended audience. Facebook hopes to challenge apps like SnapChat which also allow iOS users to send video and text messages for under ten seconds.