Mark Cuban doesn’t like the trolls on Twitter. According to the startup investor, star of Shark Tank and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, he has to think twice before tweeting anything, because there are hordes of jerks on the social network who want to pick him apart.
That’s why his application Cyber Dust makes everything disappear.
Cyber Dust is “very much like Twitter,” Cuban said on stage at the TechCrunch Disrupt event on Monday. “But the difference is, the only people who see it are the people who follow me, and because it’s inline instead of timeline, everyone sees it.”
Cyber Dust also is a bit like Snapchat, though instead of photos and videos, the app centers around texts which disappear 20 to 100 seconds after they’re opened. The application is built on the follower model, so you’ll see updates from anyone you follow which won’t get lost in an ever-changing timeline. But as soon as you read a post, it will disappear.
Cuban thinks disappearing messages might make people more honest about what they share, because there is little fear of Internet bullies going through your timeline history and finding something to call out and tweet.
“So many people [on Twitter] are trolls that are just looking for things to say, so no one speaks openly,” he said.
The app is clearly targeted to younger consumers, similar to Snapchat, another teen favorite. Cuban used his own pre-teen daughter as an example as a potential user who will, like many other teenagers, eventually send a text she didn’t mean.
“That message is … not something that can be repurposed,” he said. “If someone tries to screenshot it, you’ll know it, and we can deal with them.”
In his talk, Cuban inadvertently made an argument an algorithm-based Twitter timeline, which may start having features like the Facebook timeline—popular content up top—and less like a real-time stream of information. Cuban said that tweets are often lost in the timeline, and people are never sure how many users actually see what they’re saying. With Cyber Dust, you can be sure anyone who follows you and actively uses the application will see your posts before they disappear.
Update: We’ve corrected this story to note that the expiration time for Cyber Dust messages varies based on length of message and device type.
Lead image by Owen Thomas