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Facebook’s Poke is Number One in Apple’s App Store: Boots Google Maps from the Top Spot
It’s been touted as the safe sexting alternative for teens and so far it has proven a massive hit—even among people who left their teens ages ago. Enter Facebook Poke, an app that lets users send short messages that self-destruct after 1, 3, 5 or 10 seconds. The app which is basically a Snapchat clone (rip-off depending on your perspective) was built in just 12 days and so far users have flocked to it like duck to water.
How it works
The first thing you have to do is download the app to your mobile device. Once downloaded, you are able to initiate ‘pokes’ by sending short messages, videos or pictures. Although the app is being billed a sexting app it is important to point out that users cannot use Poke anonymously and the instant you log in, you are using it as your Facebook profile. The message here is to be careful about what you do with the app—it could come back to bite you!
Aside from that little caveat, Poke seems to be a fun way to interact with people from the comfort of your iPhone or iPad and already Apple device owners are lapping it up. Last week Google released its much anticipated Google Maps for iOS and immediately dominated the iTunes apps chart. That dominance didn’t last long because as soon as Facebook released Poke, it kicked Google off the mountain and replaced Maps as the number one app in the iTunes apps marketplace.
Users have given the app a 3.5/5 star rating from a total of 241 ratings so far and although this may seem poor, it must be pointed out that with a 3.5 rating, the app has still managed to beat out everybody in the iTunes store. Poke’s main rival is Snapchat and it currently sits in the number 9 slot; clearly then, Facebook has done better with its clone.
Like Snapchat, messages sent via Poke are destroyed based a timing set by the sender. What many people are concerned about is whether Facebook really does delete messages off its servers. The social networking giant has taken flack in the past for keeping user data and given the nature of how Poke works and the types of content being sent over Facebook’s servers, privacy is a big concern.
Poke users are being urged to consider (and be mindful) that Poke’s TOS are essentially governed by Facebook’s wider TOS. As it relates to the deletion of user data, Facebook’s TOS is clear: “When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).”
There’s also the concern over images that may be sent over the app so parents are being urged to be vigilant. Let’s just hope this doesn’t turn out to be one big mess.
Is Facebook being irresponsible by creating such an app given its scope for abuse? Share your thoughts below.