iPhone app 'Ugly Meter' can be hurtful to kids, say critics

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New York, Oct 21 (ANI): An iPhone application "Ugly Meter" is being heavily criticized for it is too easy for users to harass their victims, especially when those victims are image-conscious teenagers.

The 99-cent app analyzes how symmetrical a person's face is by using facial recognition. It scans and rates faces of the users ranking on a scale of 1 to 10, according to Switched.com.

A "1" means the person is "not ugly," while a "10" comes with a message that says, "You're so ugly, when you walk by the bathroom, the toilet flushes."

The News tested the app on male and female members of the staff. The results often varied depending on the angle of the photo or how well the subject's face matched up with facial recognition software.

One male News staffer's photo elicited a high score on the ugly scale along with the comment that his face appeared to have put in the dryer with rocks. Yet, another photo of the same staffer scored a lower, more pleasing score and the comment, "I am blinded by your beauty".

Most staffers received less than glowing messages from the app, including "You're so ugly a farmer could use you as a scarecrow" and "your face could turn milk into yogurt just by looking at it."

While adults can see the silly side of the app, there are concerns over the Ugly Meter's potential to make young people feel bad about their appearance and give bullies new ammunition.

"There's a fine line between teasing and razzing one another," the New York Daily News quoted Dr. Gwen O'Keeffe, who wrote "Cybersafe: Protecting and Empowering Kids in the Digital World of Texting, Gaming and Social Media," as telling Fox News.

"And this is just hurtful. It could have crushing blows on kids with low self-esteem. There's just nothing good that could come from an app like this," O'Keeffe added.

She'd like to see the app either taken off the market or make it only available to adults. So far, Apple hasn't issued any comment.

But Eugene Overline, app programmer, doesn't see the "Ugly Meter" going away anytime soon.

"All of our insults are PG-rated."

"We kept it pretty clean on purpose," Overline added. (ANI)

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