Facebook hates Snapchat and just wants the app to die; by now that’s clear to everyone. Instagram is copying Snapchat, Facebook is copying Snapchat, and WhatsApp is next it seems. Now Facebook has launched a new Snapchat-clone app called Flash, reports Re/Code. For anyone who is keeping track, this is the third recent app from Facebook aimed at killing Snapchat. There was Poke, Slingshots, both of which bombed and were eventually shut down. There’s something called LifeStage which still exists in the US and is geared towards high-school teens, who are a core of Snapchat’s user base.
Flash app has been launched in Brazil, which is one of the emerging markets. The key feature is this app is that it is only 25MB and designed for markets where connectivity is poor and WiFi access is not always possible. As the report notes, Facebook wants to beat Snapchat in emerging markets, where the former is stronger and this explains why Brazil is getting the app first.
One of Snapchat’s problem is the amount of data required to run the app; the constant emphasis on video and images means that stories take time to load, and you will end up using a lot of your data on the app. And that’s a problem in emerging markets where not everyone has WiFi in their homes and is often dependent on expensive mobile data connections.
If you look at screenshots of the Flash app, the entire user interface looks copied straight from Snapchat. From the way the Send message symbol looks to the way the filters show on the app, it’s all very Snapchatty. The app also has disappearing messages just like Snapchat.
Description for the app on the Google Play Store reads, “Welcome to Flash! Share all your everyday moments with friends! Take selfies, send videos and chat. Easily add fun face masks, draw and send disappearing messages. It’s fast and works great on most phones. Get the new app now on Android and send flashes with friends!”
Facebook might have failed so far in its attempts to make Snapchat irrelevant, but it looks like the social media giant has a point when it comes to emerging markets. Snapchat while it is popular in the US and has over 150 million daily active users worldwide, isn’t the most technology efficient app. Also figuring out the app if you’re over 30 years old can be an impossible task.
Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how Flash fares for Facebook and whether it is rolled out to other markets.