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TMCNet:  Oh snap! Facebook launches Poke message app, Snapchat competitor

[December 21, 2012]

Oh snap! Facebook launches Poke message app, Snapchat competitor

Dec 21, 2012 (Los Angeles Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Facebook is hoping to pique the interest of young people with a new iPhone messaging app that lets them "poke" their friends.

The giant social network on Friday rolled out Poke, which sends texts, photos and videos to friends that self-destruct within 10 seconds.

The messaging app is a direct competitor to Snapchat, which has skyrocketed in popularity among teens who want to send private messages that pop up and, once read, disappear. (Old timers on Facebook will remember that old-school poking -- as in saying hello -- was once all the rage among the desktop crowd.) Facebook isn't just looking to appeal to its youthful demographic. It's also looking to find new ways to engage users who are increasingly logging into Facebook from mobile devices. Facebook recently rolled out a new chat messenger service.

"With the Poke app, you can poke or send a message, photo or video to Facebook friends to share what you're up to in a lightweight way. You can poke an individual friend or several at once. Each message expires after a specific time you've set, either one, three, five or 10 seconds. When time runs out, the message disappears from the app," Facebook said in its announcement.

One group of Facebook users may be less than thrilled about Facebook launching its own version of Snapchat: parents. Business Insider quickly dubbed Poke a "sexting-friendly" app.

Follow me on Twitter @jguynn ___ (c)2012 the Los Angeles Times Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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