Neutrogena, the skincare brand of choice for insecure, acne-ridden teens, has released a new app called Neutrogena Skin360 that it says will give you honest feedback on your face. If it finds your skin wanting (and why wouldn't it?) it will recommend products to solve your aesthetic issues — Neutrogena products, of course.
Aesthetic need — If you're feeling insecure about your skin, look no further than this app which will give you feedback on how your appearance matches a vague ideal – that is probably young, thin, healthy, and rich — in the form of numerical scores. Needless to say, the idea of quantifying (and gamifying) beauty seems a bit too Black Mirror for our taste.
Surveillance Capitalism, But Make it Cute — In order to accomplish it’s a noble goal of selling you more products, The company is asking it’s core fanbase (young girls) to feed it health data. It asks for information on their sleep habits, water intake, daily exercise routines, and a few regular selfies in order for its proprietary personal assistant to recommend better habits and products to fix its perceived issues with your face.
Breakouts — Needless to say, until the US Federal Government passes regulations on data privacy, it’s probably not a good idea to trust companies with core health data that can be used against you. Especially when the return on investment is product recommendations for insecurities you might not even know you have.