Update: The Slingshot app has now been removed from the App Store with Facebook claiming it was released accidentally. However, the company pledged the official release is coming soon.

A Facebook spokesperson told The Verge: "Earlier today, we accidentally released a version of Slingshot, a new app we're working on. With Slingshot, you'll be able to share everyday moments with lots of people at once. It'll be ready soon and we're excited for you to try it out."

Whoops.

Original story below...

Facebook has started to roll out a new photo and video messaging app it hopes will combat the very real threat of rival service Snapchat, which it tried and failed to purchase last year.

The new Slingshot application, first rumoured in reports last month, has arrived in some markets, although its yet to hit Europe and North America.

On the iTunes page, Facebook explains how users can 'sling' photos and videos to their friends, who will not be able to see what they've received until they send something back.

Users will the be able to annotate and add captions to photos and, like Snapchat, the message will only be viewable for a limited amount of time. Once you "swipe them away" they're gone for good. If users are busy they will have the opportunity to view shots later.

Staged roll out

The premise differs slightly from Snapchat in that it forces users to exchange media before they have the chance to look at it, which is strange considering the sender won't have a clue what they're responding to.

At the time of writing we're still unable to download the app, so it appears Facebook is going for a staged roll out in different marches.

The launch comes after Facebook was rebuffed with a $3 billion (around £1.8bn, AU$3.2bn) offer for Snapchat in November 2013.

According to the reports last month, Facebook began working on its own version in the immediate aftermath and the result is Slingshot. Have you been able to download the app yet? Let us know if so and what you think below.

Via TechCrunch