Poke for mobile: Facebook's new sexting app

The app sends messages, photos, and videos that expire seconds after they're sent. Perfect for the type of communication you don't want falling into the wrong hands.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam
2 min read
The new mobile Poke app. Facebook

Cue the inappropriate poke jokes. Facebook just released a Poke for mobile app that lets people send messages, photos, and videos that expire seconds after they're sent.

The news confirms a report by AllThingsD earlier this month.

This standalone app, similar to the app Snapchat, is perfect for sending messages and images you don't want unintended recipients to stumble across. Facebook calls this sending things in a "lightweight way." The rest of the world calls it sexting.

"With the Poke app, you can poke or send a message, photo, or video to Facebook friends to share what you're up to in a lightweight way. You can poke an individual friend or several at once," reads a Facebook blog post.

Facebook isn't that naive. It's built in reporting tools to make sure things don't get too out of control for recipients. After all, sharing photos "of a sexual nature," is a violation of Facebook's policies.

"If you ever see something you're uncomfortable with, you can click the gear menu and report it," the post reads.

You set each message to expire at either 1, 3, 5, or 10 seconds. When time runs out, the message disappears from the app. But remember, that's not going to stop a friend from taking a screenshot of a message, as CNET's Casey Newton pointed out.

Facebook introduced the poke feature in 2004, but the desktop version does only one thing: instantly notifies friends that they've been "poked."

The poke is a leftover from Facebook's dorm room days. The new mobile Poke takes the sexual innuendo to another level and may get Facebook more mobile traffic, if sexting app Snapchat's performance is any indication. Snapchat said its users send 20 million "Snaps" per day.

Read more about the Poke app's features here.

Update, 2:27 p.m. PT: Updated with information on Facebook's safety policy.