Facebook app spurs spike in Snapchat popularity

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Facebook's new Poke app has apparently been a blessing in disguise for Snapchat.

Facebook Poke has been described by some as a direct rip-off of Snapchat, a mobile app that lets you send pictures and videos to people that self-destruct after a short time. And while you’d think having a behemoth like Facebook come barreling into your territory would be a disaster, for Snapchat it's been the opposite.

Image courtesy of Topsy
Snapchat popularity has risen since release of Facebook's Poke app.

According to Topsy, a social media and web analytics firm, online mentions of Snapchat have soared since the release of Poke. Snapchat also is booming in the download department -- it’s currently the fourth most popular iPhone app in iTunes, whereas Facebook Poke barely makes the top 100.

In Google Play, Snapchat is the 31st most popular free app. As for the Android version of Poke -- there isn’t one, a factor that very well could boost Snapchat’s popularity with mobile users.

Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel responded to Facebook's release of Poke last week by saying, “Welcome, Facebook. Seriously.” His confidence, it turns out, was right on the mark.

While the two apps are strikingly similar, there are some differences, however.

While both Facebook Poke and Snapchat let you draw over images and make videos shorter than 10 seconds, Poke is location-aware, lets you send 120-character messages, necessitates that you use a Facebook username and only works with Facebook friends. Alternately, Snapchat does not offer a location service, only allows for 33-character photo captions but can message friends on and off of Facebook.

Supposedly coded with help from CEO Mark Zuckerberg , Poke joins a handful of other standalone Facebook apps, including Instagram, Messenger and Camera, although some people have questioned why Facebook can’t innovate on its own and has to resort to either making expensive purchases like its billion-dollar acquisition of Instagram, or in the case of Snapchat, overtly copying it.

Regardless, apps like Snapchat and Poke certainly have utility for some people.

While Snapchat and Poke message recipients can take a screenshot to preserve a particular communication, both apps alert a sender when someone does so.

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