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Facebook Poke ratings slip as Snapchat loyalists pan the app

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Facebook “ripped off” Snapchat when the social network released its own self-destruct messaging app, Poke. Snapchat’s co-founder Evan Spiegel didn’t appear to be fazed by the competition and merely said, “Welcome, Facebook. Seriously,” mimicking Apple’s famous 1981 Wall Street Ad that at the time “welcomed” IBM to the personal computer game. Facebook’s Poke is friendly competition for Snapchat, but loyal Snapchatters aren’t taking Facebook’s encroachment lightly.

Poke blazed onto the mobile app scene to reach the top of the Apple App Store Chart in its first days on the market, but plummeted down all the way to 39th just one week later (at the time of this writing). Snapchat, currently sitting comfortably in fourth place among Top Free iPhone Apps is far ahead of its new competition. Judging from the reviews, Snapchat users might have a personal vendetta against Facebook’s overt clone of the popular time sensitive photo and video messaging app.

Overall Facebook’s Poke has a 3-star rating, and looking through the reviews it’s clear that’s because reviewers are polarized. On one hand, satisfied users are rating Poke 5-stars. On the other hand, users are rating the app just 1-star while very few ratings fall between the 2 and 4-star range.

Some examples of 1-star reviews:

“Stolen. Use snapchat!”

“Support Snapchat… Enough said.”

“This is a carbon copy of snap chat, accept [sic] on here your pictures aren’t deleted from their server permanently, they are still subject to Facebook terms of use.”

There were however some reviewers who published fair reviews.

“Not that you would believe it from the ratings that it has been receiving. The 1-star ratings are all about dragging customers away from [Poke] and nothing to do with this app on its own merits. Poke allows you to send messages which automatically delete after a set period of time. In all of my testing, the app has been successful in that regard. Minus 1-stars simply because I cannot find a use case or this other than cheating on a spouse or running business communications through Facebook, both of which are pretty bad ideas.”

Users that have appreciated the app for what it is are singing Poke’s praises. Among Poke’s features that users claim to be far better than Snapchat is that Poke glitches far less, it offers more features (messages and pokes), a superior interface, and better access to Facebook friends.

But the biggest difference between Poke and Snapchat are their terms of use. Snapchat’s images and video messages are deleted permanently and instantly after the timed viewing period expires. Poke content is governed by Facebook’s terms of service, which after the Instagram debacle could make you feel slightly uneasy.

Facebook explained that its Poke messages are encrypted and then deleted after two days although a backup copy will exist in the same manner like deleting a file using a computer’s recycle bin. This means that a backup copy of the content could exist somewhere “for a reasonable amount of time.” This reasonable amount of time, which Facebook clarified is 90 days, will reportedly be reduced in the coming weeks.