Lulu promotes itself as “the first-ever app for reading and writing reviews of guys, sharing tips, and having fun with your girlfriends. It’s by girls, for girls, with features and content we know we need. Everything you do on Lulu is totally private and anonymous. And it’s strictly girls-only – meaning no boys allowed. That means you can be brutally honest without worrying it will end up on someone’s Facebook wall or in your crush’s hands. -www.onlulu.com” Your privacy. His privacy deserves a good heel-grinding.
But what they’ve really done is simply update an old concept:
Lulu is essentially a virtual response to the old bathroom wall. By rather than simply dialing 867-5309 for a good time with Jenny and taking your chances, you can get a whole slew of ratings on a guy using the Lulu app. Everything from how often he pays for dinner to how wild he is in bed. Not to mention a bunch of personal information from Facebook a lot of guys may not want shared. And since they don’t know its been downloaded, this data is going to stay in Lulu’s database until Lulu merges, goes bankrupt, or gets sued.
That’s right guys – no peeking. If you come into work one day and the ladies are treating you strange – or your deeply religious boss decides to fire you for your moral turpitude, you may never know where the information came from.
― Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City
Here is how it works. Once a lady logs signs in with Facebook, she is presented with a list of all her male friends, along with their profile photos, relationship status, etc:
Notice how much personal information is being grabbed – not just you, but all of your friends? Once you log in, it grabs all the guys in your friends list. Cousin Ted. Kind Reverend Abernathy. Of course, how many women keep ex’s on their friend’s list? Or perhaps, what kind of women keeps all of her old flames on her friend’s list? I mean, aren’t a lot of them just somebody’s that you used to know?
Is Lulu Violating Facebook Privacy and Data Rules?
When you go through your list, all that personal data is dumped into Lulu’s database and shared with everyone else on Lulu. That seems to violate Facebook’s Data Use Policy:
If an application asks permission from someone else to access your information, the application will be allowed to use that information only in connection with the person that gave the permission and no one else.
Here’s the problem. Lulu promotes anonymity. But in their terms and conditions, they require you to get the permission from every person you rate. In other words, they are advertising one thing, then trying to cover their asses with making you legally responsible if the guy you upload decides he doesn’t like his personal data distributed around.
Lulu is the first ever app for private reviews of guys. When you meet a new dude, check his Lulu profile, and find out everything you want to know!
You are always anonymous on Lulu. Your privacy is our top priority! That’s why we never post to Facebook.
Find out the things you really want to know: is he ambitious, trustworthy, good in bed?
Then vote on reviews and add to the collective wisdom!
But according to their terms and conditions:
You acknowledge that uploading or posting information about other individuals might encroach on the data protection rights of those individuals. Accordingly, Members who upload photographs or information about other individuals should do so only with the express consent from the individual who is the subject of the photograph or information.
You acknowledge and agree that you are solely responsible for all Member Content that you make available…[does not]…violate a third party’s copyright…or rights of publicity or privacy
And how anonymous are the female users? Not really at all. Again:
Luluvise cooperates with government and law enforcement officials and private parties to enforce and comply with the law. We may disclose any information about you to government or law enforcement officials or private parties as we, in our sole discretion, believe necessary or appropriate to respond to claims and legal process (including but not limited to subpoenas and Court Orders), to protect the property and rights of Luluvise or a third party, to protect the safety of the public or any person, or to prevent or stop activity we may consider to be, or to pose a risk of being, illegal, unethical or legally actionable activity… Luluvise may sell, transfer or otherwise share some or all of its assets, including your Personal Information, in connection with a merger, acquisition, reorganization or sale of assets or in the event of bankruptcy.
Someone sues Lulu because of information you post? They can role on you and hand all your data over whenever they want. If they go belly up or get acquired, and your data – your reviews, your friends, your personal information – goes to the highest bidder.
What does the founder know, and when did she know it?
In a recent Buzzfeed article, founder Alexandra Chong claimed that:
She’s also noticed men bragging about their good Lulu reviews on Twitter. And men can remove themselves if they don’t like what they see.
WTF? I thought that no guys were allowed. And no, guys can’t remove themselves from the database. In fact, women can’t either – unless they send Lulu a physical letter requesting their data be removed. Simply removing the app does not remove anything from Lulu’s database – including the Facebook friend data you imported. Remember, you can’t register if you’re a ‘dude’ – but the article shares the following tweet:
Reading my reviews on lulu definitely gives me a big head 😂😂😂
— #LandenKlein(@landodino) February 5, 2013
Not sure, but they should have carded him. On the other hand, after checking his YouTube channel, I’m not sure he’s old enough have a driver’s license yet. Perhaps he knows Ashley R:
17 years old
I was using this app for about a week and then I accidentally logged out and when I tried relogging in, it told me I had to be 17 (I’m almost 17!) What the heck??? It’s not even that bad and I loved rating guys! Please change the age limit to a younger age! (If you are old enough to have Facebook, you are old enough to go on Lulu!!) Google Play Review
Isn’t it Libel or Defamation or Privacy Protection Something?
Ever wonder how sites like RateMyProfessor, Yelp, website forums, and even blogs like this seem to be immune to lawsuits over contributed content? That’s because of Section 230 of Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996:
No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider
So if someone posts a comment that defame you – I’m not responsible. The comment writer is. Go sue him.
However, protection is not absolute. Since Lulu is collecting the data from Facebook, aggregating it, guiding the users through canned questions, and basing content recommendations based on an algorithm, it could be argued that Lulu is a content provider and has lost CDA protection. Of course, the whole CDA thing is why Lulu is legally operating in the USA.
Who is Luluvise?
They actually operate out of London. Because of strict EU and UK privacy and libel laws, they set up a Delaware corporation-in-a-box via CSC. They claim that the legal jurisdiction for the site is in California. However, outside of a legal address for DMCA take-down notices, they seem to have no legal presence in the state. A search on the California Secretary of State’s website returns zilch, so they haven’t provided the proper filings they are supposed to in order to conduct business in California. Their data is on Amazon. They may have legal representation in California, and they have a paper corporation in secretive Delaware. Their development and technical team appears to be in London.
Administrative Contact: Chong, Alexandra firstname.lastname@example.org Luluvise 144A Clerkenwell Road London, LONDON EC1R 5DF United Kingdom 0-795-142-2840
Forget Privacy and Fair Play. Is A Girls Only App Legal?
Can you actually have a girls-only app? Not sure. Recent trends around ADA lawsuits seem to be identifying websites as “places of public accommodation.” Many states, such as California and Colorado, protect access to public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. One could even argue the reviews would be even more valuable if they included ALL the partners that a potential boyfriend has had, not just the female ones. eHarmony had to settle several lawsuits for not treating gay and lesbian dating on an equal footing as straight dating. At the very least, they may want to rethink having California as their venue. Perhaps Mississippi would be a better choice.
Lulu – Yes, We Are Talking About You
We have an app distributed through Google and Apple that violates its own terms and conditions and sucks up and stores data about guys without their permission for long-term storage. It probably breaks privacy rules, discrimination laws, and accepted social contracts. It then guides their female-only user base through brutally honest evaluations that are public in one sense (other women, like the guy’s boss, coworkers, mother, crazy ex’s), but inaccessible to the victim person they are targeting discussing. Their founder is misinformed about its functionality and brags about how it affects the egos of underage users.
I would like to hear other opinions. Even though I’m a guy.