New photo app pays you for selfies, then promptly exploits them

New photo app pays you for selfies, then promptly exploits them

CultureMay 18, 2016 By Simon Berger

The beautiful thing about the Internet of Things is our innate trust in the Internet of Things. Even with the get-rich schemes and catfish scams, we still opt to drink the Kool-aid and wear white Nikes.

To most, this sacrifice comes with the privilege of online access. Digital companies make money observing our daily habits. Google, Facebook, Redtube, all mine our fastidious online actions for data then auction them off to the highest advertiser. It’s brilliant. Except for a new company plans on taking user participation to the next level with a surreptitiously devious method of tapping into the self-aggrandizement of millennials.  

The new app “Pay Your Selfie” offers $1 for every selfie you take with the app. When you have $20 in your “piggy bank,” the app will mail you a check for that amount. It’s simple. It’s straightforward. And it’s popular. Since launching in September, the app has collected more than 500,000 photo-genic users. But how can a company pay for something so menial and in such high abundance?

The trick is by selling the photos to third parties for research. That’s right, the app allows brands to use the photos for marketing creative, collecting data from what they learn from the pictures. If having your selfie from Cancun pinned up on the whiteboard at a marketing meeting for Procter & Gamble sounds fucked up, that’s because it is. 

Overlooking Google and Facebook’s tracking of your every move is one thing, but having your personal photo mined for data is on another level of fucked up. Not only are we not aware of how that photo will be commercialized, once the user sells the photo to the app for pennies, the user relinquishes rights to the photo. In 10 years when you decide tequila shots out of the bartender’s belly button wasn’t as epic as originally thought, the photo is already deep in the dark net, and we all know what resides there, Charlie Sheen.