Pay Your Selfie

App review by
Patricia Montic..., Common Sense Media
Pay Your Selfie App Poster Image
Earn cash by sharing pics and personal info; not for kids.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Quick tour on first launch helps users get oriented, and it's super simple to tap the piggy bank to find your next selfie assignment.

Violence
Sex

Depending on the challenge, there could be some suggestion to be especially provocative or sexy, like a challenge to post a beach selfie. 

Language
Consumerism

Where to begin? This app's premise is about getting paid to share your personal and consumer behavior with brands so they can better target advertisements and understand consumer behavior.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Challenges are geared toward adults, so there's the occasional invitation to post an image of alcohol or cigarettes. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pay Your Selfie pays users small amounts of money for posting images of themselves completing various "challenges" such as posing with a friend or using a particular consumer product. The app's developers then share those selfies (and your associated personal information) with third parties, including marketers and consumer product manufacturers. The personal information collected is extensive, including contact information, social media handles, location, relationship info (who your friends are and what your relationship status is), installed app data (titles of other apps on your device), and transaction info (how you pay for the service). Its terms of service indicate that this app is strictly for users over 18, and its focus on sharing so much personal information makes it a bad fit for kids. You can read the app's privacy policy here

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What's it about?

PAY YOUR SELFIE pays users cash for posting selfies to complete a series of challenges. Some challenges are open-ended ("Take a photo at your favorite big box store!") while some are more brand-specific ("Wash your face with [X] brand of face cleanser!"). Each challenge has a price point between $0.25 and $1, and once you've earned $20 from your selfies, you can redeem your winnings to receive a check in the mail or donate to your choice of charity. After you take a selfie, it's saved to your shelf, and you can instantly share it to several social media platforms or via email. 

Meanwhile, different brands, marketers, and ad agencies pay the app's developer for the information that's collected in these selfies, including your email address, physical address, social media handles, location information, relationship information about who your friends are and with whom you interact on social media, and information about how you interact with various brands in this app and on social media. You can turn off location services on your device if you want, but some challenges require location tagging and won't let you submit your selfie -- or earn your cash -- unless you share your location. 

Is it any good?

This app initially seems pretty benign -- why not earn a buck for posing with your favorite box of mac and cheese? -- but its wide-open sharing of personal information should make parents pause. Unlike other apps where you can protect your privacy by turning off features such as location services, Pay Your Selfie incentivizes sharing as much information as possible; in fact, your selfies might be rejected if you don't share all this information completely or correctly. While the piggy bank looks cute and the language is playful throughout, further inspection reveals a consumerism-driven model that highlights the value of big data. If adults really want to earn cents on the dollar by selling their personal information to brands, that's their prerogative, but this app ultimately sends unhelpful messages about what's valuable and acceptable for kids to share online. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about your family's rules for sharing information online. Privacy and internet safety are big issues for teens and tweens; talk about your expectations for what's OK to share and what's off-limits.

  • Talk about marketing with your kids. Why would it be valuable to a company to know about the things you like to buy? How can kids be smart and savvy viewers when they encounter marketing and commercials? 

App details

For kids who love photos and social networking

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