Facebook wants people to feed its insatiable data machine with likes and updates. But one of the problems the social network is currently wrestling with is that Snapchat-using young people don’t like leaving digital trails, and they don’t really like Facebook.
So, how do you get people to post more?
One possible answer: You make it easy for Facebook posts to disappear. As first spotted by The Next Web, Facebook changed one of its help pages to note that people in “some areas” are able to set updates with an expiration timer. Right now, at least, the feature is only available for a small group of iOS users.
It is common for websites to experiment with new features they end up rejecting, so don’t be too disappointed if the self-destructing timer never makes it onto your profile. But it seems like another clear illustration of Facebook’s preoccupation with replicating the success of the app Snapchat, which allows users to send photos that disappear after a set amount of time.
Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel famously shot down Mark Zuckerberg’s offer for a $3 billion acquisition. And ever since, Facebook has been trying to build its own version, most recently with Slingshot, which once required users to “sling” photos back to their friends in order to unlock whatever pictures they send them. Last week, Facebook got rid of that requirement. Now, Slingshot is basically Snapchat.