By Alexandra Burlacu | Dec 17, 2012 04:43 PM EST
Facebook is reportedly working on a Snapchat-like photo messaging app to allow its users to send impermanent photo messages to one another.
Snapchat has grown quite popular this year thanks to its unique feature: sharing photos with expiry dates. More precisely, an image can be set for a specific amount of time (as little as 10 seconds, for instance), after which it will delete itself from both the sender and the recipient's phones, as well as Snapchat's own service.
According to AllThingsD (ATD), Facebook is currently testing an app with a similar "self-destructing" feature, and plans to launch it in the coming weeks. Snapchat has been largely seen as a "sexting" app due to its unique feature, and a similar service could make Facebook an even more popular venue for "sensitive" images. After all, people already share more than they should on the social network.
According to ATD's "sources familiar with the matter," Facebook will launch its new photo messaging app sometime before the end of the year. Just like Facebook Messenger and Camera, the new app would be stand-alone and separate from the main Facebook app. As ATD notes, this would bring Facebook's app count up to five individual apps, Instagram included.
As previously mentioned, Snapchat became quite popular over the last year due to its capacity for sending private messages that would self-destruct in a matter of seconds. Moreover, Snapchat has also added video messaging capabilities to its service recently.
Facebook's competing app will reportedly be very similar to what Snapchat has to offer. Upon opening the new app, users will be presented with a list of message threads between them and their friends. Holding a finger down on one of those threads will display a timer, asking for how long the message should be viewable. From there, users will be able to send "self-destructing" messages, viewable only for that set period of time.
Facebook's new photo messaging app comes as Snapchat is preparing for a new round of financing. GigaOm reported last week that Benchmark Capital will be leading an $8 million venture round for Snapchat soon, at a rumored valuation of $50 million.
"We haven't heard anything from Mark [Zuckerberg] about a Snapchat clone," Snapchat co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel told ATD in an emailed statement. "We're big fans of Instagram and the Facebook platform and we look forward to watching Mark continue to innovate and grow its company."