Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Creepy Facebook apps mine your profile for bikini shots, break-up status

Liane Cassavoy | June 27, 2013
Some third-party Facebook apps are moving into territory that's downright disturbing.

Breakup Notifier
Breakup Notifier promises that you will be "the first to know" when the object of your affection ends his or her current relationship. But, in my tests at least, this app proved incapable of delivering on that promise.

It's similar to On the Rebound, only with intentions that seem a little more pure--on the surface, anyway. It assumes you wouldn't attempt to date anyone who's currently spoken for and that all of your friends will update their Facebook relationship status immediately upon ending things. Both of those may be a reach for some of the folks interested in this kind of app.

It's simple to use: It presents you with a list of friends and you select the ones about whom you'd like to receive notifications. Then, you sit and wait. And wait. And wait. It's supposed to deliver an email notifying you of the status change, but failed to do so in the 48 hours after two of my friends changed their relationship status to single. If I were to rely solely on Breakup Notifier to find out about relationships ending, chances are good I'd be the last to know.

On the surface, Badabing just might be the creepiest of the apps tested for this roundup--so much so that I'm hoping no one will ever see it installed on my phone. This $1.99 iOS app searches through Facebook photos of your friends, looking for shots taken on the beach or the pool, especially those in which the subjects are wearing bikinis. It uses an image recognition algorithm that looks for, well, skin. If that alone doesn't creep you out enough, consider that you can save and rate your favorite photos.

The good news is that in my tests, Badabing didn't work nearly as well as the company claims it can, boasting an 83 percent success rate. I tested it on my own photos, and the majority of the ones it found were not taken outdoors, and only a few showed anyone in a bathing suit. Some of the misfires were understandable--one was a baby in a diaper, showing plenty of skin--while others, including a bride inside a reception hall wearing a floor-length wedding dress and a fully clothed baby sitting in a high chair, were not.

Friend WatchDog
Of all the apps I tested for this article, none made me feel more like a peeping Tom than Friend WatchDog. This free app isn't doing anything underhanded, as all of the information it gathers is freely available online. It tells you how often your friends have logged onto Facebook and Skype in the past week, and shows you the status updates they posted during that time. You could see all of this information for yourself if you spent all day online. But Friend WatchDog presents it all in a very scannable graph, which makes it almost too easy to keep tabs on your friends--and made me feel like I was tracking their movements.


Previous Page  1  2  3  Next Page 

Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.