A live-streaming app, popular among children, that allows users to broadcast their lives across the web accidentally exposed home addresses to online predators.
Live.me, which has 20 million users worldwide, is part of a growing trend of apps to allow people to share their lives in real time with anyone who wants to tune in.
But a covert method of extracting the locations of users has been widely shared on the internet for some months, allowing internet predators to pinpoint the homes of children, report the Sunday Times.
A live-streaming app, popular among children, that allows users to broadcast videos of themselves across the web inadvertently exposed home addresses to strangers (stock image)
Many of the broadcasts by children come from their bedrooms, often offering glimpses of sleepovers, hangouts and parties.
However, the investigation revealed that many of the app users are not just children but seedy men who swamp young girls with sordid messages.
And following the investigation, the app makers admitted they had accidentally allowed users to pinpoint the location of users, likely to include many child users.
While a second security flaw allows viewers outside of the app to tune in and watch them anonymously.
Despite claiming to have a minimum user age of 18, MailOnline was able to sign up to the app via a basic two-step mobile number and verification pin sequence.
More perversely, once into the app, users can zone in on people based on locations and categories – with the most popular category listed as ‘girls’.
Live.me, which has 20 million users worldwide, is part of a growing trend of apps to allow people to share their lives in real time with anyone who wants to tune in (stock image)
The app was launched last year by Cheetah Mobile, a Chinese developer, and can be used across various digital platforms.
Warning signs surrounding the app began to emerge this year after a sex offender was able to convince a nine-year-old girl to expose herself on camera.
While in another shocking case, a 12-year-old girl live-streamed her own suicide on the platform.
Users of the app have to ‘follow’ each other and can send private messages, videos and public comments to their connections.
But a covert method of extracting the locations of users has been widely shared on the internet since August, an investigation has revealed
Sunday Times reporters were able to view public comments on videos streamed by young girls, with one person telling a 17-year-old girl he wanted to take her to bed, and ‘loved her more than his wife and children’.
Another girl, a year younger, was told to touch her breasts on camera.
Using the security flaw, which isn’t identified for safety, their locations were accessed quickly and accurately.
Using the security flaw, which isn’t identified for safety, users’ locations were accessed quickly and accurately. One 14-year-old girl was broadcasting from her parent’s semi-detached house in Buckinghamshire and a 15-year-old from her mother’s house in a Northampton village
A 14-year-old girl was broadcasting from her parent’s semi-detached house in Buckinghamshire, while a 15-year-old girl was doing the same from her house in a Northamptonshire village.
A Live.me spokesperson said: ‘We do our best to ensure the appalling minority of antagonists, predators and trolls does not enjoy the satisfaction of an audience on our platform.’
They said the app makers were working round the around the clock to fix the security breaches, adding: ‘These breaches are taken very seriously and are currently being addressed by our team of engineers and community safety personnel.’