Dec. 21, 2012 — -- Sometimes, for some people, a text message can just be too permanent. It's for those times and those people that Facebook has put out its new Poke app.
The standalone app for the iPhone lets you log in with your Facebook account and message or "poke" a friend, but they need to read it quickly -- each message self-destructs after a specific time set by the sender.
When you send the message from the app, it prompts you to set an expiration time on it. You have a choice of one, three, five, or 10 seconds. "When time runs out, the message disappears from the app," said Facebook in a blog post. You can include a photo or video in the message. You can also take a screenshot of the message if you need more time, but it will tell the sender that you did so.
The app, Facebook says, is supposed to bring the poking functionality of the Web to mobile devices. "The poke feature has been a part of Facebook since 2004. Now we're excited to share a new poke experience for mobile," Facebook said on its blog today.
A similar app, called Snapchat, has been around for the iPhone and has sometimes been called the safe sexting app. The premise is that inappropriate or racy messages or photos will self-destruct and won't be left in your chat history.
Facebook says that's not the idea of the new app. "This is a light way and fun way to connect with your friends. Our usual terms and rights will apply and we hope people share responsibly," Jessie Baker, a Facebook spokesperson, told ABC News.
The Poke app is available now in the Apple App Store for free. Luckily you have more than 10 seconds to download it.