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Poke: Facebook Just Cloned Snapchat (Update: Hands-on)

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Facebook has a new Snapchat knockoff app that just hit iTunes (no Android version yet). Facebook Poke—yes, Poke!—wants to be your go-to app for photo and video messsaging, but will anybody want to engage in Snapchat weirdness on Facebook? And does this mean Facebook owns your sexts? Facebook response and hands-on below.

Make no mistake, Facebook poke is a total Snapchat rip off. The only real difference between Poke and Snapchat is that Poke's UI isn't as silly and playful. Using the app, you send messages, photos or videos to individual Facebook friends or to groups of friends. From there, you can decide to let the message last for 1, 3, 5, or 10 seconds before it disappears from the app and all creation.

Or at least the hope is that it'll be gone. There's still the risk that someone will capture a screenshot, or worse, that Facebook will suddenly own your ill-advised compromising photos. According to Facebook's Terms of Service, even intellectual property—like photos—that has been deleted is still Facebook's. We reached out to ask if that applies to the photos on Poke.

And that's what's weird about the app. As a standalone, Snapchat gives you a comforting veil of anonymity—no matter how thin. You can Snapchat with strangers which is something you're never going to do on Facebook. But who knows. Maybe there's another reason to use an application with self-destructing photos.

We'll update you once we've had the chance to play with Poke. [iTunes and Facebook]

Hands On:

If you've used Snapchat, you've used Poke. It is a complete ripoff/clone/Facebookification of the app we've already used, only now you're directly plugged in to your existing Facebook network. So: dickpics to college friends, right?

The interface is very straightforward, and again, completely taken from Snapchat. But it does look nicer, because Facebook makes things that look nice. It's actually substantially easier to use than Snapchat, which is kind of grimy and confusing at times.

Your entire inbox of pokes is laid out neatly with quick icon shortcuts to reply. You'll also be tipped off if someone took a screenshot, the dirty cheaters.

And when crafting your own media poke, you're free to add color or text as you want.

When someone pokes you, the app says "poke" to you in a squeaky voice. I'm not sure if the poke sound is adorable or annoying. Decide for yourself:

So, yes, this is Snapchat. But is it as fun when it's not as creepy and semi-anonymous?

We've reached out to Facebook for comment on where these self-destructing images fall under their ownership terms of service. You don't want your penis stored on Facebook's servers when you intended for it to vanish into the ether after three seconds.

Update 5:03

We heard back from Facebook regarding whether the photos really self-destruct or if Facebook saves and owns them:

All Poke messages are retained for a couple of days after being read, to help facilitate abuse reporting.