TORONTO - The Snapchat app popularised the concept of sending photos and videos that self-destruct in minutes and new apps do the same for posts on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Smartphones and mobile apps have made sharing photos faster and easier than ever, but privacy has become a growing concern. Designers have created new apps because they said people want to control who sees their content and for how long on social media sites.
"Most of these ephemeral media apps have been focused on private messaging. But this is more to do with control and cleaning things up so that the average user can't see what you've posted in the past on social networks," said Pierre Legrain, a developer of Spirit for Twitter, an app that can auto-delete Twitter posts.
Secret.li, an iPhone app, lets users can take a photo with their iPhone's camera and post it to Facebook knowing it will be automatically deleted an hour, day, or week after it is posted.
"Publishing is so easy but privacy is so obscure," said Deepak Touwari, co-founder of Secret.li, based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
After taking a photo with the app, users can decide who they want to share it with and for how long. Recipients will see a scrambled or hidden version of the photo, which they can open and view completely in the Secret.li Facebook or iPhone apps. After the photo is deleted it also disappears from Facebook and Secret.li.
"We see it more like a photo shedder application," said Touwari, adding the motivation behind the app was privacy.
"(Social networks) are great keepers of memory but very poor keepers of context," he said.