GREENSBORO, N.C. — The New Profile Pic Editor app is the topic of conversation. A lot of folks on Facebook are sharing posts that warn the app is linked to Russia and the government there is taking all your info, your locations, all your data and even dipping into your checking accounts.
2 Wants To Know checked several sources and we're highlighted two.
First, is the well-known fact-checking website, Snopes. In their research, they go point by point for each of the social media claims, but the big picture summary is:
There’s little evidence to suggest that this app is any more invasive in its collection of user data than other apps.
Our second source is Joseph Steinberg, a cyber security expert. He too says there's no evidence that this app is doing anything malicious or really any different than any other app you have on your phone right now.
“All of a sudden when the company is based in Moscow, it’s oh my God it is Moscow and the company is collecting my data. The real problem is they're not asking about the other 30 apps on their phone that are doing the same thing,” said Steinberg.
When is the last time you read the entire privacy document that came with the app you downloaded? Probably never. We usually just hit the button that says we agree.
"The reality is, if you look at the fine print of this app, it's collecting less data than many other apps. I think Facebook has a lot more info than TikTok does. But the reality is, if this app or TikTok or any other app from a foreign country, you don't know how they're going to share the data," said Steinberg.
Steinberg says while there isn't any specific need to panic about this app, any app coming from any country outside the U.S., and there are many, operates under different rules.
“We're using apps from all over the world all the time like it’s one big online system. But not all countries work the same when it comes to human rights, privacy, and laws. We're pretending it's all one ecosystem, but it's not,” said Steinberg.
He went on to say apps built and operated in other countries are subject to their country’s laws, not U.S. laws, and while many foreign companies are working to collect and store data in the U.S. to alleviate user’s worries over the issue, the fact is not all apps operate under the same rules.
Steinberg says if you want the picture from the app, but not the strings attached, download it onto an old phone or tablet that has no contacts or it.