Photo: Tim Williamson
In late December, Facebook launched an app called Poke.It was hit on its first day, rising to the top of the App Store. Then it fell off. Part of the reason it lost intrigue was because it was a blatant rip-off of another popular app, Snapchat.
Snapchat is a photo sharing app that lets users take pictures, write messages on top of them, and send them to friends. The pictures disappear from both the sender and receiver’s phones a few seconds after they’re opened. Snapchat had 3.4 million users in December and 60 million images are shared on the app per day.
According to The New York Times, it’s no coincidence that Poke and Snapchat looked alike. Snapchat’s founders say Mark Zuckerberg met with them in early December, a few weeks before Poke launched.
Peter Deng, Facebook’s Director of Product said of Poke, “The demand comes from real life. People want something that is more lightweight than a message and less permanent.” It also probably came from SnapChat.
What’d the Snapchat founders have to say about Poke?
“Welcome Facebook. Seriously,” the co-founders said in a statement to The Verge and TechCrunch. (It’s a play on an old Apple newspaper ad which read, “Welcome IBM. Seriously.”)
Zuckerberg’s meeting may not have been ill-intentioned. Zuckerberg has publicly stated that he likes meeting with entrepreneurs, particularly those who are utilising Facebook and growing quickly. That’s how he first got to know Kevin Systrom and the Instagram team.
He explained at TechCrunch Disrupt:
“One of the things that I like to do is, with all of our big developers, I just like to reach out and get to know them personally. Partially because I’m just really interested in entrepreneurship and helping other entrepreneurs, but also I just want to get to know the people who are doing great stuff on top of our platform.”