Wickr WTF, A Messaging App That Keeps Your Social Photos Private With Cat Pics
You could be seeing a lot more cats on your Facebook newsfeed soon.
We already have enough of those kittens and cat memes bombarded upon us, much to our annoyance.
On Tuesday, Wickr, an encrypted messaging app for privacy lovers, announced a new tool called Wickr Timed Feed (WTF, in short) which allows users to share pictures in an Instagram like feed inside their messaging app. These pictures can then be shared on Facebook as well, if they choose to- but then, all (or most) messaging apps allow users to share pictures and photos on social sites.
What, then, is new about WTF?
Well, the users can share the photos with a maximum of 151 Facebook friends. Anyone on their friend list with whom they do not want to share the picture will see a cat’s picture instead!!
Privacy has now gone mainstream. Users of messaging apps and social sites today value it more than ever before- and why not?
It really wouldn’t make sense to share the pictures of last night’s dinner with friends where you were probably sloshed on a social site where your employers and colleagues, your parents, fiancé and bank manager (if you’ve added them on to your list as well) could see them. Why not share them with ONLY your partners in crime, without anyone else being able to see them?
Nico Sell, the Wickr founder and CEO, has made it possible for all those who do value their privacy, by making use of a technique called steganography. That refers to the art of hiding one message or image within another message or image. Widely used as a spy tool to snoop in, Sell hopes to put it to use for making data sharing on social platforms more secure.
“The whole point of this is really control,” she explains. “I have a problem with Facebook owning my daughter’s pictures and conversations for eternity.”
Makes sense- doesn’t it?
WHY you should let networking sites to go on and become owners of YOUR pictures?
Wickr, she explains, does not store users data (whether conversations or pictures) on to their servers. They do not even “keep phone numbers or email addresses, but instead lets users find their friends by assigning every number its own cryptographic hash,” she insists.
Wickr users love the app because its founders are value the users’ privacy over and above everything else. Tells Sell, “It’s this type of protection that inspired a 50 percent spike in downloads at Wickr after Snapchat was hacked back in 2014.”
Keen to make internet users wary about sharing information and pictures on unsafe platforms and to bring data protection to other services (including Facebook), Sell will now use cat pictures. So, all Facebook will now own is ‘decoy’ pictures!
How to use WTF?
To be able to use this encrypted picture sharing tool, users will have to log into Wickr first and then click on to the WTF tab.
Take a picture or select one from your image gallery, add a caption if you want to and/or choose a sticker. They can then choose up to 151 friends with whom they want to share this picture. The friends thus chosen will be able to see the shared picture in their Wickr feed, in the same manner as they do on Instagram.
The picture will first appear as a cat to all Facebook users initially. When they double click on the picture, it will be redirected to their Wickr. Now if you were one of the users approved by the person sharing that kitty picture, ONLY then you will be able to see the actual one guised cleverly by the app makers!
The cherry on the cake: After 24 hours, the image will self-destruct! So, you can choose to share a racy picture with your date without having to worry about the picture being misused or causing you embarrassment later!
Check out this demo video that shows how Wickr WTF works!
“In the simplest sense, it’s an Instagram killer,” says Wickr CEO Nico Sell.
Instagram has more than 300 million users across the world at present. Even if 10percent of them care for privacy of their pictures (as do the 5 million people across 196 countries who use Wickr already), WTF sounds like a hit already!
“It’s not meant for public posts,” Sell notes. “This is all about private sharing with the people you trust who are closest to you.”
So if you see a lot more cats on your Facebook newsfeed from now on, you will know that someone is sharing a private picture.
Wickr App is available for Android, iOS and even for Desktop on Windows, Linux and OS X