At a time when Facebook could use a boost in credibility, it surprised me that their next big move was the unveiling of the “poke” app. Most of us remember “poking” on Facebook as the innocent virtual nudge you could give to one of your Facebook friends. Taking this notion to new heights, Facebook has created a poking app that allows users to send pictures and videos to their Facebook friends. Once you’ve snapped your photo, taken your video or written something, you are left to determine how long you’d like the recipient to be able to view your message. The maximum time is 10 seconds.
The app boasts secrecy as it claims that all evidence is destroyed once the message expires. The subtext held in this promise, which is primarily attractive to females, is an artificial sense of security aimed at making users feel like they have nothing to be afraid of because they are not leaving behind a trail. Beyond the simple work around-a screen shot (although the app alerts the user if a screenshot is taken) users of the poking app have discovered a major hack that allows videos to be permanently saved, sent, shared, etc.
All the user has to do is plug their phone into a computer and use a third party file browser like iFunBox to navigate to the temp folder where they will find every file from the videos they’ve loaded. Facebook deletes the video after it’s been watched, but in order to save them all a user would have to do is simply load, and not watch the video.
The ballsy ethical implications of this app are two-sided. On the one hand, Facebook seems to be blatantly promoting teen sexting, and at the same time it practically bragged that it would re-create the app Snapchat in 12 days’ time. These are two bold moves for a publically traded company to make at a time when most investors have lost confidence in the brand altogether.
Can you imagine what the elite Facebook developers must feel when their CEO requests that their time over the next few days be spent on replicating a sexting app, while their counterparts at Google are being challenged with the likes of Google Glass and cars that drive themselves?
What do you think Facebook has achieved with the release of its most recent app? Tell us how you feel about apps like Facebook Poke and Snapchat.
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