Facebook shutters Poke, Camera apps


Facebook confirmed Monday that iOS apps Poke and Camera have been removed from the App Store.

Poke, launched December 2012, was thought of as a Snapchat competitor, but flopped early. Camera, which Facebook announced May 2012, had Instagram-like features. Now that Facebook owns Instagram, there’s less of a need for Camera.

A Facebook spokesperson explained to Inside Facebook why the company made the decision to pull the apps:

Since their launch in 2012, we’ve incorporated elements of each app into the Facebook for iOS and Android apps, including the photo upload flow used today. Neither app has been updated in some time and we’ve decided to officially end support by removing them from the app store.

Poke and Camera were much less widely used and publicized than other Facebook standalone apps, such as Messenger and Pages Manager.

A look at Camera’s iOS download estimates, courtesy of Mediabistro’s AppData, show that as the Facebook-Instagram marriage became more solid, Camera declined. The graph depicts Camera’s ranking in AppData’s category of top free U.S. photography apps. Camera had a 3.5-star rating in the iTunes App Store.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 9.11.15 AMPoke was fairly doomed from the start. The app had several features also seen in fast-rising messaging app Snapchat. Both apps featured messaging that self-destructed in a matter of seconds. Facebook has repeatedly tried to compete with — and even flat-out purchase — Snapchat, which is seen as the go-to app for the demographic Facebook advertisers crave: teenagers. After Poke failed to take off, reports suggested that Facebook made a $3 billion offer to Snapchat. Most recently, Instagram added a direct messaging feature that allows users to send photos back and forth.

Prior to being removed from the App Store, Poke had a 3-star rating.

Research by Onavo and TechCrunch showed that, by February 2013, nearly 12 percent of U.S. iPhone users had downloaded Snapchat, while Facebook’s Poke was hovering around the 0 percent line.

Readers: Did you use either app?