Is the NewProfilePic app safe?
Or is it a funnel that sends all of your information back to Russia?
A new app that lets users turn their profile pictures into cartoons has been gaining popularity on Facebook. The app is called NewProfilePic, and it’s all over social media, but is the app safe?
NewProfilePic Picture Editor (or NewProfilePic: Profile Picture on the Google Play Store) lets you customize your profile pictures, but some people are concerned about the app’s safety.
The app has shot up the app charts to hold a number one position with hundreds of thousands of downloads in the last couple of weeks.
The app lets users upload an image and add one of several cartoony styles to create a fun, new picture.
However, like many other apps that blow up in popularity, many people are skeptical about newProfilePic’s safety.
Some people say the app is Russian malware spying on your phone.
Others claim the app is based in Russia and has ties to the Kremlin.
One person even said the app takes “all your information and sends it to Moscow.”
So is there any merit to these claims? Is NewProfilePic a dangerous app that harvests tons of user data to send to the Russian government?
Let’s find out.
Is the NewProfilePic app sending your information to Russia?
Short answer: Probably not
After some digging, it looks like NewProfilePic is no more invasive than other apps you can find on the App Store and Google Play store.
The app does require camera and storage permissions, among a few others, but those permissions are not out of the ordinary compared to other apps.
The good people over at Snopes dove further into the claims of danger tied to this app.
On the subject of NewProfilePic sending user data to Moscow, the claims were found to have no real weight.
The claim stems from a domain registration for the app’s website that shows the website was based in Moscow.
However, in speaking with Linerock Investments, the app’s publisher, Snopes found that this wasn’t quite true.
The development of the app originates in the British Virgin Islands, where Linerock Investments is located.
But the company employs an international team of developers, some of which reside, or did reside, in Russia.
According to the company, the individual who registered the website lived in Moscow at one point. But that’s no longer the case.
The website’s registration location has since been updated to show Florida as the location.
Is the app stealing money from users?
Another rumor that Snopes found about the potential harm of the NewProfilePic claims that the app charged a user an unsolicited fee of £60 through the App Store.
While the charge itself could be legitimate, a company spokesperson told Snopes that the app is “absolutely free and it does not contain in-app purchases so it does not require any payment information of the users.”
However, to be fair, I downloaded the app to see if this was true and found that there is a single in-app payment option in the NewProfilePic app.
You can sign up for “NewProfilePic Pro,” which offers a couple of extra features, for a single charge of $29.99.
It’s unclear if the company’s spokesperson made these claims before this in-app purchase option was available.
Or maybe they made a mistake in their statement. Either way, nothing substantiates the claims that NewProfilePic is stealing money from users.
Is the NewProfilePic app safe to use?
At the end of the day, nothing suggests that this new app is any more invasive than other apps you find on the Google Play Store or App Store.
Linerock Investments has developed other smartphone apps, including ToonMe and Photo Lab. And the permissions required to use the app don’t suggest anything out of the ordinary.
That said, when an app blows up like this one, it tends to spawn tons of clones.
If you’re interested in trying out the NewProfilePic, choose the official app from Linerock Investments on the App Store or Google Play Store.
Otherwise, you might become a victim of scammers impersonating the app to take advantage of its skyrocketing popularity.
Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.
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