The Chinese app Meitu has taken the world by storm and became, in the last few days, one of the top apps in iPhone’s App Store. However, you might want to think twice before downloading it.
The app is available for both Android and iOS. But what does it do? It can actually be a fun one, since it allows you to turn your selfies into anime style characters. This explains the astounding popularity, since many other apps have similar features. It reminds of Snapchat’s face distorting filters or the newly introduced masks on Facebook.
It all sounds like fun and games, but be careful. Users reported that Meitu seeks excessive permissions, for example accessing your phone’s GPS or other confidential data. Many questions have been raised by these situations. Why would Meitu need to know your location? It clearly doesn’t need it just to apply an anime filter on your face.
Other users showed concern regarding other issues with the app. They reported that it removes all traces of melanin from the skin. Thus, people of all skin tones are made significantly whiter.
Although they have been questioned regarding the excessively confidential data they require, Meitu have not issued an official statement yet. The company website states that they have more than 450 million users and have raised over $360 million.
Meitu might be new in the U.S., but it has been registering immense success in China. It scores between 100,000 and 200,000 iOS downloads per day, and between 10 million and 50 million Android downloads per day. This is pretty big.
The app has become popular in the U.S. only during the last few days, which seems quite odd. Until now, Mobile Action declared it had only scored a few hundred iOS downloads per day. This figure suddenly increased to 100,000 downloads per day, and this only in a few days. What is even more peculiar is that it increased in popularity in China, too, also over the past few days. The number of iOS downloads there reached one million per day.
Despite the popularity, users are now more concerned since they found out of their excessive use of personal data. They are urging the authorities to take action, since it is not just a customer issue, they say, but a national security issues.
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