What is Zepeto and what are the risks for teenagers

Zepeto is a social application very popular among young people: you create a 3D avatar from a selfie and interact with other users. The dangers

First it was the time of Snapchat, then of ThisCrush and now of Zepeto. Teenagers are known to change their minds easily: one day they love an app, the next day they have already changed their minds. Zepeto is the latest app that has become popular among Italian teenagers: according to data from App Annie, a company specialized in analyzing the world of mobile apps, in November 2018 it was the most downloaded app in Italy and still sails in the top positions.

But what is Zepeto? It is a new social network, but one that has different features than the various Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. You don't use your own face, but a three-dimensional avatar created from a selfie. The user can customize their character by buying clothes and furniture to furnish their virtual space. In addition, Zepeto also allows you to socialize with other users, take pictures in the virtual world and then share them in the "real world" on Instagram and Zepeto. On Instagram there are over a million photos with the hashtag #zepeto. In short, the new social network seems to have bewitched the youngest and has become the new digital port where to dock their "boat".

What is Zepeto

The social application was created by the South Korean software house Snow. Zepeto is to all intents and purposes a social network: users can get in touch with people living on the other side of the World and socialize with their friends. The difference from Facebook and Instagram is the way it works: to sign up you have to take a selfie and Zepeto will create a 3D avatar from your face. The virtual character can be customized in every aspect, starting with the clothes and furniture in your digital room (all available for purchase from the online store).

How Zepeto works

Once the user has created and customized their 3D avatar, they can begin to make friends and chat with other people. As in similar projects such as Second Life, it will also be possible to carry out virtual activities with other users and then share them on their "real" social profiles (Facebook).

The dangers for teenagers

The application is very popular among teenagers who have immediately begun to populate the social network. Without, however, taking into account the dangers they were facing: the application, in fact, sells all the data obtained from users to third party companies. Zepeto is a free application and is supported only through in-app purchases to customize the personal profile and through the sale of user data. The terms of service are only written in Korean, making life complicated for users. From what could be deciphered, Zepeto provides marketing companies like Unity Ads and AppsFlyer with the data collected on IP address, phone number and email inbox. But that's not all: by having to create the digital avatar through a selfie, we also provide Zepeto with sensitive information about our physical appearance. All data that can be exploited by companies that make online advertising.