But now the chance to dress up our pics using Meitu is much less appealing as the full extent of the app’s permissions has been revealed. Â
Once Meitu photos started blowing up our feeds, some information-security skeptics took to Twitter to warn of the extent of access users were giving up to make themselves look like anime characters.Â
The Android version of the app required a particularly long list of permissions. Along with the typical photo and camera access you’d expect, Meitu asks Android users for access to:
To make matters worse, that info gets sent to multiple servers in China, according to Ars Technica.
Let me get this straight…
All of you just installed a photo app from China that requires these permissions? Let me know how it works out. pic.twitter.com/wGDUYbRdSA
â Greg Linares (@Laughing_Mantis) January 19, 2017
According to a blog post written by infosec expert Will Strafach, the iOS version of Meitu isn’t as intrusive.Â
“Overall, the information collected by this app would appear to be on par with analytics information collected within most iOS apps which are currently live in the App Store,” he wrote after conducting a quick assessment of the app.
In an official statement, Meitu denies that the data collection is excessive or nefarious in any way. Instead, the information is collected to “optimize app performance,” nothing more. “,” it reads.Â
Instead, the statement claims that the app uses so many tracking systems because the company is based in China, where “many of the services provided provided by app stores are blocked.” In order to keep the tracking consistent, the multiple layers are necessary.Â
The company did provide some insight into how it protects user data:
Mashable reached out to Meitu for further comment, and will update the story upon receiving a response.Â
If you’re still beautifying your selfies, take a look at the permissions and decide for yourself if you’re cool with giving up that much personal info. But let’s be real â Meitu had it’s 15 minutes of viral fame. In all likelihood, it’s over. Better solution: Just find a new way to mess around on Twitter and go about your day worry-free.Â