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Why You Should Not Download Meitu, A New Chinese Photo App

Meitu as seen on a smartphone

Meitu is a Chinese-made photo editing app which has exploded in popularity over the last few days. Selfies edited with it have appeared all over the Internet. Meitu smoothes your skin, makes your face slimmer and applies virtual make-up on you. You look like a cute anime after you use this app. However, some experts argue that there might be something not quite right with Meitu. They advise people to think twice before downloading it.

A sudden grow in popularity

Everybody in China has used Meitu for years. It has only now reached the American users and triggered their obsession with it. It is now at the top of most popular iPhone apps, but it is also available for Android for free. There is no surprise that everybody soon became obsessed with this photo editing app which acts like Snapchat in a way. Its anime-like filter resembles Snapchat’s filters and the newer Facebook masks.

However, according to some security experts, Meitu is not at all as innocent as it may look. Among other things, they have discovered that the app needs a lot more data from your phone than it would be normal for a simple photo app. Those usually request permission to access your camera and photo roll, in order to apply the filters and all the other options. Still, security researcher Greg Linares warns that the app’s Android version requests access to a lot more things which should not have anything to do with a photo app. For example, information about your other apps, your location, your call information and wifi connections. Meitu’s iOS version also requests those things, but Apple blocks apps from obtaining some of them, expert Jonathan Zdziarski says.

 Not as dubious as one might think

However, some of the experts cannot understand how people are still not aware of how common is for an app to request such things. Most of them do. This happens because in nowadays’ society, people are willing to give up on their security in order to have the latest new thing on the market. This brings popularity, likes, retweets and everything else. And it is exactly what people want. Meitu says that the data which the app collects from its users will only be used for security reasons and service upgrades. However, experts are warning that this might not be the case and they can even sell your data.

Nothing to worry about, says Meitu

A Meitu spokesperson said that they are extremely glad that everyone suddenly noticed their app, including celebrities. As for the worries, they stated that the company is working with both Apple and Android. It is not breaking any privacy policy. People also accused Meitu of stealing some codes. The spokesperson responded that their engineers do not need to steal anything because they are smart and they can make their own. However, Meitu avoided to answer questions about the data it collected. Also, about its purpose and how the company will use the data. All in all, users should be aware of the fact that their security is at risk with such apps. They should really think twice before downloading it.

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About Donna Griggs

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