Thursday, December 3, 2020

Photo-sharing poses concerns

What do you get when crossing social media apps Snapchat and Yik Yak? It’s called Fade, the new app that’s sweeping across Plattsburgh State.

Fade is becoming a trending interest just a few weeks after Yik Yak was the talk of the town. At first, the photo-sharing app required 500 students to sign up before being opened to the entire campus. Like Snapchat, Fade gives all its users the freedom to put up any pictures they want for 24 hours. In relation to Yik Yak, Fade uses many similar elements: interface, anonymous postings and a rating feature.

But what makes Fade unique is its countdown system. After uploading a picture to the app, a countdown of 24 hours begins. Doesn’t sound too unique yet, but that countdown can change depending on how many likes or dislikes a photo receives. Every like tacks on an extra hour while every dislike loses one. After the timers expire, these pictures — hence its name — fade away and are supposedly never seen again.

The app is light-hearted amusement. You can create an anonymous or real account, and the app records your personal number of posts along with the total number of likes received from sharing pictures. The pictures I’ve seen so far are ridiculous, naughty, extreme or all of the above. Once scrolled to the right of the app, you face a list of pictures titled “Hall of Fades.” In this list are trending pictures from other schools that won’t fade anytime soon. A lot of them have a remaining countdown of over 1,000 hours.

One photo I noticed reaching as long as 6,000 hours, or 250 days. So far two pictures from Plattsburgh State have made the Hall of Fades list. One of the pictures shows a female displaying her bare, light-skinned bottom with the caption “Congrats to unlocking fade.” The other picture I saw shows a guy in Feinberg Library using a computer with nudity displayed on the screen in Feinberg library with the caption “Studying the human body?” That’s true in a technical sense.

While Fade is a fun 16-megabyte addition to our social lives, it can become a digital dilemma due to its provocative nature. Recently, thousands of pictures were leaked from using Snapchat, resulting in the exposure of many underage minors. To be clear, Snapchat didn’t get hacked. It was through the use of a third-party client called Snapsaved.com. The website allowed anyone to save Snapchats.

Not only that, Snapchat itself implied a storage of Snapchats. Snapchat stated online, “We can confirm that Snapchat’s servers were never breached and were not the source of these leaks…” This implies that every snap is kept in storage. Fade is probably keeping storage as well. Pictures may fade, but those bytes go somewhere and many third-party apps will try to take advantage one way or another.

Fade can be a place for blackmail, gossip and cyber-bullying. Pictures serve as memories of all kinds — including unwanted ones. This can cause major problems for anyone. It only takes seconds to whip out your phone, take pictures and upload them. Apparently we can all have paparazzi following us.

Fade is a pretty amusing app far better than Yik Yak, which already lost my interest. It seems the purpose of the app is to showcase and bring everyone closer through every waking moment, which I think is pretty awesome. If crazy moments were made over the weekend, they’ll probably be seen on Fade.

Email Stephen Nguyen at stephen.nguyen@cardinalpointsonline.com.

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