Called ‘Flash’, the new app is basically a stripped down version of Snapchat. As first reported by recode, Flash has been specifically built for regions where wi-fi access is limited and connectivity is weak. Flash is less than 25 MB in size - around a third as big as Snapchat’s Android app - and it includes a range of visual editing tools and messaging functions designed to run at lower capacity.
The new app has thus far only been made available in Brazil, but will be released in more places soon. The impetus behind Facebook’s strategy here is clear - rather than simply trying to compete with Snapchat head on, Facebook's releasing these new, Snapchat-like features and tools in regions where Snapchat adoption is low. In doing so, Facebook isn't seen as the copycat in these areas, but the innovator, which, if Snapchat does eventually get around to promoting their app in the same places, could restrict the app’s growth as people will already have the same functionality on Facebook-affiliated apps.
This is why Messenger Day is only available in Poland and Australia, why Facebook’s new camera options are being made available in Ireland first, why they’re adding Snapchat-type tools to WhatsApp. Facebook’s beating Snapchat in these areas before Snapchat even has a chance to compete.
And the logic behind this is sound – while Facebook might not be able to stamp out Snapchat completely, if they can slow their growth, that’ll cause the app all sorts of headaches in future. Just look at what it’s done for Twitter.
If you’re ever wondering why Facebook keeps copying Snapchat, there's your answer.