20121221-201805.jpgFacebook has announced that it’s rolling out an app called Poke, a competitor to the popular photo sharing app Snapchat, which allows users to send photos that disappear seconds after they’re sent. The Poke app allows users to send messages, pictures, or videos to Facebook friends and have that content disappear shortly thereafter.

In a blog post, Facebook explains how the app will work:

[quote_simple]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 1, 3, 5 or 10 seconds. When time runs out, the message disappears from the app.[/quote_simple]

It’s interesting to consider why Facebook would launch a standalone app for photos and messages, when Facebook itself already performs these functions. Why launch a new app and make the content disappear? Perhaps it saw the amplitude of Snapchat’s success and wanted a piece of it.

Poke will likely raise new concerns among parents and privacy experts about how the content will be shared and how safe it will be for users to exchange. Privacy has always been a sticky subject for Facebook, and replicating what is known as “the sexting app” could be troublesome.