LYKA App: How it works and is it really safe?

LYKA App: How it works and is it really safe?

The LYKA app has become the center of discussion about user security and privacy this week when a Twitter thread published by the Computer Professionals Union (or CPU) went viral.

“LYKA works just like any other social media platform,” writes CPU. “Except that every engagement corresponds to a monetary value in the form of GEMs (Gift card in Electronic Mode). Users can then use these GEMs to purchase items from one of their several partner stores.”

In light of this recent development, the Tech Rejects team made a one-pager info sheet for people wanting to know more about LYKA.

What is the LYKA App?

The LYKA App is a social media network developed by the Things I Like Co., designed for users to “connect, discover new things, and share their interests with other individuals”.

That sounds about the same as any other social network like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. However, the app has its own currency called ‘LYKA Gems’ which users can redeem online or IRL in merchants like restaurants, clothing shops, and more.

LYKA users earn LYKA Gems for every engagement that users make and/or receive.

How does the LYKA App work?

LYKA’s in-app currency sets it apart from other social networks. It’s literally paying users (in the form of Gems) to use their app.

LYKA uses these Gems in a number of functions, including but not limited to: its own LYKA Mall, where users can shop for products using their LYKA Gems; its partner merchants both online and offline; and as an e-wallet, which allows users to send and receive LYKA gems.

To earn LYKA Gems, users have to engage with others, be that following other users or posting content that generate engagement.

Is the LYKA App really safe to use?

If you’ve caught wind of the aforementioned thread, you might be wondering: is this app really safe? Should you use it?

Filipino hacker and YouTuber Alexis Lingad weighs in on the security of the app:

While LYKA isn’t alone in mining user data (Facebook being the most famous example of using user data to fuel its advertising platform), the language in LYKA’s terms of use isn’t inspiring a ton of confidence either.

As CPU points out in the same Twitter thread, LYKA collects (and has the ability to sell) your personal data, including names, addresses, contact details, and even bank details. What’s worse, is that as of February 2020, there is no way for users to deactivate/delete LYKA users—a bigger offense in our opinion.

Should you use the LYKA App?

That’s the question, isn’t it?

The fact of the matter is, despite its brow-raising practices and the questionable language in its terms of use, LYKA is raking in a ton of users. Unwitting or not, though, these users need to be aware of what those LYKA Gems truly are costing them.

There’s a running gag in the startup world. It goes: “If you don’t pay for it, you are the product.” You would have to wonder what’s the case for an app/service like LYKA.

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