Ugly Meter app worries cyber bullying activists
Ugly Meter works by scanning a user's photo for contours, symmetry and proportions.
The face gets a rating between one and 100 on the "ugly scale," along with a corresponding comment that can range from flattering ("You're so hot you make the sun jealous") to downright mean ("You're so ugly, you could make a glass eye cry.")
The 99-cent iPhone app has been available since November 2010, but it shot up the app store chart this week after getting a mention on Howard Stern's radio show.
As of Monday morning, it was in second place behind the game Angry Birds and now boasts over five million downloads.
Developer Eugene Overline told the Daily Mail that Ugly Meter has generated more than $500,000 in revenue to date, $80,000 of which came in overnight after Stern's mention.
While Overline maintains that Ugly Meter is just a game, not intended to be taken seriously, anti-cyber bullying activists warns that the app could encourage teasing and lower a child's self esteem.
"There's a fine line between teasing and razzing one another ... [This app] is just hurtful. It could have crushing blows on kids with low self-esteem," said Dr. Gwenn O'Keeffe, author of "Cybersafe: Protecting and Empowering Kids in the Digital World of Texting, Gaming and Social Media" in a 2011 statement.
Software developer Awareness Technologies agreed, writing in a press release that Ugly Meter is "the latest tool that creates opportunities for cyber-bullying, the online pandemic causing severe emotional and psychological pain to children across the nation." Awareness Technologies makes filters and controls for parents to put on their computers.
The app, which encourages users to share their results on Twitter and Facebook, has been rated appropriate for ages 9+ by iTunes.
Do you think this app should be restricted from kids? Would you download the Ugly Meter? Have you? Let us know your thoughts below.
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