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Social media

Don’t sign up for this new social network – and tell your family too

Love it or hate it, Facebook is here to stay. It’s already got most of your personal information, and even if you don’t use the platform, it still has numerous ways of following you around the internet.

That’s why people across the web are growing disillusioned with the promise of social media. What started as a fun way to interact with friends and family has become a hollow, negative space where outrage flourishes and privacy is non-existent. Tap or click here to see why you should break up with Facebook for good.

But now, a new social media company is stepping in to offer jaded users a “reality-centered” social media experience. This new platform uses your phone’s camera and AR to add a social media flourish to everyday friendships. But there’s just one problem: It’s a face-scanning privacy nightmare.

Enter Octi: The aggressive social media platform that wants your mug

A new social network called Octi has launched. It sets itself apart in its highly competitive scene with an all-new gimmick: face-to-face interactions.

Unlike platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, Octi requires users to meet in person to become friends. The app uses the rear-facing camera of a smartphone to project AR features that turn a human being into the equivalent of a living Facebook profile.

Floating around the user on your screen will be icons for photos, content and more. CEO Justin Fuisz believes this network will succeed due to its reliance on real-life interactions, but some are skeptical about how you add friends, among other privacy issues.

How do you add friends, you ask? By whipping out your camera and scanning their face, of course!

Wait, what?

Yes, you heard right. Although the company claims it safeguards user data so personally identifiable information isn’t stored in its cloud service, this app makes it entirely possible for a stranger to pull out their phone, scan your face and see your public-facing profile information, such as your username.

And if that username is similar to any other profiles you possess online, Octi becomes an easy tool for cyberstalking. You’ll never feel safe going out for coffee again. It also bears an uncanny resemblance to a creepy new app in the hands of police and law enforcement. Tap or click to learn more about Clearview AI.

To its credit, Octi claims users can make their profile photos and usernames anything they want, so the information retrieved by a scan doesn’t have to be relevant to their identity at all. It also says the issue didn’t come up during its “extensive” testing.

That’s a highly optimistic viewpoint, but we all know how naive and idealistic these perspectives can be. As we’ve seen with Facebook’s penchant for selling user data, where there’s money to be made, the platform will follow.

And in the process, it’ll ignore user complaints about privacy. Tap or click here to see how Facebook continues to sell user data.

Although this isn’t confirmed to be part of Octi’s business model, it’s worth noting facial recognition could be a highly effective tool for advertisers. Considering Octi is a free service, it begs the question of how the company will harness user data.

It’s scary to think about, but like it or not, surveillance tech like face scanning is here to stay. Tap or click here to see just how many of these products were on display at CES 2020.

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