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Facebook tries again with Slingshot

When Facebook launched Slingshot back in June, many considered it as a Snapchat competitor with a few minor differences, such as the requirement to send a photo or video reply in order to view an incoming message. As it turned out, this particular feature – one incorporated to mark it out from Snapchat – proved unpopular with users and was removed in an update two months after launch.

Six months on and the user base is apparently still well short of what the team behind it had been hoping for, a situation that forced it to return to the drawing board with an enormous eraser.

The fruits of their labor were rolled out on Thursday in the form of Slingshot 2.0, an app its developers claim is “simpler, cleaner, and more fun” than the version that went before.

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To recap, Slingshot is Facebook’s attempt to climb aboard the ephemeral photo-messaging bandwagon, with the Android and iOS app allowing users to quickly and easily send snaps to friends.

Version 2.0 allows you to send a photo message in just two taps, and now also lets you beautify your images by choosing from one of five Instagram-like filters. If scrawling over your images or adding captions is more your style, you’ll be happy to know that the app continues to offer such functionality.

You can follow people like you do on other social media sites like Twitter, and when one of those you’re following slings some new content, it’ll appear in a grid that appears when you pull down the camera. This content only shows for 24 hours, or until you swipe it away. If this all sounds a bit ‘Snapchat Stories,’ you’d be right.

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A new swipeable tab design means it’s also easier to skip between shots, reactions, people, and camera mode, making things a little less fiddly than before.

There’s also an Explore sheet that does what it says on the tin – lets you see content from other users around the world, content which according to the Slingshot team may show up “hilarious, inspiring and rad people” for you to follow.

All in all it’s a pretty major redesign of an app that really failed to gain any traction first time around, though if it fails once again to build a sizable user base, it may well be quietly retired like another of Facebook’s Snapchat-inspired efforts.