Phantom Brings Self-Destructing Photos To Facebook, Twitter And More


A new mobile application called Phantom is offering a way to post personal photos and videos to blogs and social media sites, like Facebook or Twitter, which “self-destruct” like they do in Snapchat, while also offering controls that limit the number of people who can view the content, and more.

The idea to allow for ephemeral sharing on Facebook and other sites is interesting, though the number of controls Phantom offers makes it a bit more cumbersome to share that content in the first place.

How It Works

2_settingsThe app, available on both iOS and Android, lets you snap a photo or record a video, or select an item from your smartphone’s gallery, then mark it up with commenting and drawing tools that are very similar to those found in Snapchat. But instead of just offering a timer function to control how long the image or video is visible to a friend after it’s shared, Phantom also lets you configure how long the content will live, period, as well as how many viewers it can have.

That way, you can set the content to expire after a certain amount of time, no matter how many people have seen it or not. And by limiting the number of viewers, you have more control over how widely a piece of content spreads.

Of course, Snapchat does this too, in its own way – by sending your photo or video just to a selection of contacts, you’re already indicating how many people should see the content you’re sharing. But Phantom big difference is that it’s designed to work with more public networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, WordPress and Blogger. And via a “More” option, you can also share to Tumblr, Pinterest, Whatsapp, LINE, Telegram, Movable Type, iMessage/SMS or email.

It’s sort of like a Snapchat that works everywhere else.

However, because of the many settings Phantom offers, there’s a learning curve to using the app, and that can slow things down. The uploading process of saving the media to Phantom’s servers is a little slower than I’d prefer to see, too.

3_shareBut the end result delivers. Recipients are given a link along with a mosaic image preview. But to open the image, they have to use the Phantom iOS or Android application.

Take A Screenshot, Get Banned

“It’ll be impossible to copy or save the image, because those functions will be disabled while viewing, and user has to keep touching the screen while viewing the image,” explains Phantom’s creator Osamu Date of Phantom’s privacy settings. “Furthermore, the screenshot function will be disabled on an Android devices while view is in progress.”

Phantom also takes a harder line against taking screenshots of other users’ images. Those who do will be automatically banned from Phantom, and will be reported to the user whose privacy was violated.

The idea for Phantom comes from “LinX Corporation,” a big name for what’s really a one-person, bootstrapped startup out of Tokyo, run by founder Date.

The app was actually launched a few months ago, but hasn’t really done much press it seems.

My guess is that they’re having a hard time reaching the international audience, thanks to language barriers and other communication differences. The website is in Japanese. And the email I received suggested I contact Date, “Representative Director of LinX Corporation,” which doesn’t exactly sound like a startup. But I decided to reach out anyway, because I was interested in this idea of controlling the exposure of your content before publishing to big-name social media.

The app is not as polished as it should be to compete in this space, but some of the more viral social apps, including Snapchat and also Yik Yak, have started out a little rough around the edges. The bigger problem for Phantom is not the app’s functions or look-and-feel, but whether or not it can gain the users it would need to stay afloat as a business.

Phantom is a free download here on iTunes and here on Google Play.

More TechCrunch

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

1 day ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

1 day ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo

Sony Music Group has sent letters to more than 700 tech companies and music streaming services to warn them not to use its music to train AI without explicit permission.…

Sony Music warns tech companies over ‘unauthorized’ use of its content to train AI

Winston Chi, Butter’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch that “most parties, including our investors and us, are making money” from the exit.

GrubMarket buys Butter to give its food distribution tech an AI boost

The investor lawsuit is related to Bolt securing a $30 million personal loan to Ryan Breslow, which was later defaulted on.

Bolt founder Ryan Breslow wants to settle an investor lawsuit by returning $37 million worth of shares