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Facebook launches Poke app, reinventing feature

Supposedly coded with help from CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Poke joins a handful of other standalone Facebook apps.

Facebook has reinvented its Poke feature with a new standalone iOS app that lets you send messages, photos and videos to your friends on the social networking service that disappear within 10 seconds of someone opening them.

While it might have been a while since any of your friends on Facebook have used the feature, now you can check out the app released Friday.

Supposedly coded with help from CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Poke joins a handful of other standalone Facebook apps, including Instagram, Messenger and Camera.

Poke is similar to another popular app called Snapchat, which also erases messages once they're viewed and has millions of users who send roughly 50 million messages a day.

Poke lets you send a 120-character note, take a photo and annotate it with doodles or words or make a short video. You can also choose how long recipients can view your message -- 1, 3, 5 or 10 seconds.

Apps like Snapchat and Poke certainly have utility for some people, especially considering how much trouble a person can get into if the wrong kind of message surfaces beyond its intended audience.

Consider former CIA Director David Petraeus, who recently resigned because of sexually charged emails discovered by the FBI, or New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, who was accused of sending a lewd picturevia Twitter to a college student in Washington state.

While a Poke message recipient can take a screenshot to preserve a particular communication, the app smartly alerts a sender when someone does so as well as gives instructions about what they can do about it.

The app's help center also links to information about what to do if an adult is making a minor uncomfortable as well as guidance regarding nude photo requests.

"If you ever see something you're uncomfortable with, you can click the gear menu and report it," Facebook wrote in a blog post.

Facebook seems to be keen on amping its messaging capabilities and also on Friday announced that it was testing a capability that lets people pay $1 to deliver a note to someone's inbox, even if that person isn't a friend.

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