Today self-destructing mobile messenger Wickr is launching a photo feed to compete with the likes of Instagram and Facebook.
Wickr’s new photo feed is called Wickr Timed Feeds (WTF) and allows users to create feeds of photos that self-destruct in 24 hours after they’re posted — positioning Wickr as more social network than messenger.
What separates WTF from Facebook and Instagram is that you can only share photos and feeds with 151 friends or less. Founder Nico Sell says the reason there’s a cap on the number of people you can share with is because it’s difficult to maintain the level of encryption that Wickr offers and share photos with everyone.
Sell’s social feed also expands on the idea of “liking” a photo. In addition to being able to heart a photo you can show your distaste for your friend’s post with the ever-popular poop emoji.
WTF has one other innovation that is fairly bold. When you share a picture to a feed, you have the option to share it on Facebook. This seems a little counterintuitive given founder Nico Sell’s strong opposition to Facebook’s data collection practices — until you realize it’s a ploy. Wickr allows users to share a decoy photo on their Facebook feed of a cat that, if clicked on, will redirect the person to the Wickr feed where the original photo is posted.
This little invention serves two purposes. One, it lets your friends know that you’ve posted something time sensitive in Wickr and they should hurry up and look. Two, the decoy post acts as an install-ad for Wickr. If one of Wickr’s decoy cat photos shows up in your Facebook stream and you’re curious enough to click on it but you don’t have Wickr, you’ll be redirected to a page where you can download the app. Even after your photo self-destructs on Wickr, the cute cat decoy photo remains posted on Facebook ready to reroute users to the app store.
“We wanted a way for people to share photos with their friends and family without giving up ownership and control of that information,” says Sell. When the decoy photo posts to Facebook, it goes up free of any geographically identifying information. Both geo-tags and your unique device identifier are wiped from the photo.
To see the new feature for yourself, check out the video below: