Ugly Meter iPhone App Used By Cyberbullies

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Both the NSW and Victorian Education Departments are refusing to say whether they will ban the use of a new “Ugly Meter” phone app in schools that has been linked with bullying.

Both the NSW and Victorian Education Departments are refusing to say whether they will ban the use of a new “Ugly Meter” phone app in schools that has been linked with bullying.

The application which is available for iPhone users on Apple’s iTunes Store, uses facial recognition software that measures facial symmetry and other features before giving a ranking. A 10 garners this message: “You’re so ugly, when you walk by the bathroom, the toilet flushes.”

Apple who made the application available via their store is also refusing to comment.

Already more than 20,000 applications have been downloaded at $1.20 a download. Designed for users ages 9 and above, the app scans a snapshot and then submits a score of 1 to 10, a 9.4 gets: “You look like you ran a 100-yard dash in a 90-yard gym.” 

In the USA the application has already come to the attention of authorities with the app’s creators claiming that they’re just having some fun.

According to Fox News some critics say the software can be malicious in the wrong hands. It’s “right on the borderline” of appropriate and inappropriate, said Stephen Balkam, CEO of the Washington-based Family Online Safety Institute.

“I can see that the guys who programmed it were having a bit of fun and all,” Balkam said. “If you’re 25, 26 or 28, this sort of thing could be quite funny or amusing. But in the hands of a 14- or 15-year-old, it could be quite the reverse, and particularly if someone is submitting someone else’s photograph and then circulated that photo around school.”

Balkam said he would discourage his 14-year-old daughter from using the app, but would not ban it outright unless she used it maliciously.

“For impressionable young teens and tweens, it could potentially be quite damaging,” he said. “It could be used in cyberbullying.”
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