UK Culture Secretary mocked for launching own app

02/02/2018

The new Culture Secretary has prompted mockery by launching a social media app named after himself.

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Matt Hancock has opened a platform where users can apply for verification, watch live streams of him, add each other and send messages.

In a video that appears upon opening it for the first time, Hancock explains that the app is to help him engage with his West Suffolk constituents and let them raise and discuss important issues.

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Despite the app's serious intentions, the network has been inundated with memes and jokes poking fun at it.

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Labour MP Liam Byrne has tabled a question in the House of Commons about how the new internet age verification regulator will check if app users are old enough to view the pornography being uploaded on it.

Serious technical issues have also been raised.

Pat Walshe, a data protection and privacy consultant, said there was no privacy policy on the app's landing page - a breach of Apple's guidelines.

He also claimed there were "questions of fair and lawful processing" of users' information, including photos on their phone.

Hancock, who was promoted from digital minister to lead the department in last month's cabinet reshuffle, responded hours after the app's launch.

He denied it breached security standards because it uses "Apple technology" and said it would be better than traditional social media platforms because it gave "complete editorial control", community moderation and user privacy.

"I'm delighted to have the chance to use this to build a safe, open and accessible online community for my West Suffolk constituents and I to engage with the issues that matter to them," Hancock said.

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