If your teen has a Facebook account, he or she is just a few clicks away from a controversial messaging app that could pose serious safety risks. MeetMe promises users a “fun, friendly” experience, but some young members are finding the very opposite to be true. The app has recently garnered attention after the San Francisco city attorney filed a lawsuit against its developers due to “lax privacy” settings that threaten kids’ safety. According to the lawsuit, there have been at least three sex crimes against juveniles in California that can be attributed to an online predator using MeetMe to locate his victims. What makes MeetMe so dangerous?
Although MeetMe is rated 17+ in the app store, teens who want to bypass this restriction can do so by simply tapping to “confirm” their age. One-fourth of the app’s user base is reported to be between the ages of 13 and 17.
As soon as a teen signs up for MeetMe, which is as easy as logging into Facebook, his or her profile becomes public, giving the entire MeetMe “community” access to personal information including age, gender, and location.
Popularity matters on MeetMe, and every user has a public popularity rating. By tapping on another user’s profile, you can view this rating, which could be “very low,” average,” or “very high,” depending on the user’s activity. The app prompts members to increase their popularity by paying to “step into the spotlight” or playing the Match game to get everyone “secretly admiring” them. If you’re concerned about your child seeking approval from strangers, or worse meeting up with them in real life, MeetMe is an app to ban. Learn how to block it now.
S.F. Sues MeetMe App over Kids’ Safety http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/S-F-sues-MeetMe-app-over-kids-safety-5201095.php