At the end of December, Facebook reinvented the “Poke” by launching a new app with the same name. The idea was that, rather than make the “poke” a meaningless message you send to other users, it would be a more robust platform for sending temporary messages.
In that regard, Facebook was following the lead of Snapchat, a similar messaging service that currently is being used to swap some 50 million photos/videos per day.
But these aren’t mere photo sharing apps, both have put a high premium on privacy and security. They work in largely the same way, by introducing “immediacy” to photo sharing. You snap an image (or take a video), send it to one or more people on your friend list and the other person has between 1-10 seconds to view it before the image disappears.
These apps have been widely called “sexting” apps with many noting that they are ideal for sending nude or other sensitive images to other people. However, as others point out, that’s unlikely to be the sole or even the most common use of them.
But regardless of the content, this desire to protect images is understandable. With the rise of sites like Is Anybody Down? and even the recent Instagram TOS controversy, there’s obviously a lot of concern about how one’s images are going to be used online.
Whether it’s a nude photo appearing on an involuntary porn site or a sunset photo appearing in an advertisement for a hotel, there’s a clear interest in preventing shared works from reaching beyond their intended audience. But will these apps fix the problem? If recent history is any indication, the answer is a resounding “No”.Continue Reading