Fact Check

Bitstrips App Is Secretly NSA Trojan Horse to Access Your Private Data

Is the Bitstrips app a trojan horse that gives the NSA secret access to personal user information?

Published Nov 24, 2013

Claim:   The Bitstrips app is a trojan horse that gives the NSA secret access to personal user information.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, November 2013]

I recently heard that the app bit strips is an NSA Trojan horse virus, is that true?


Origins:   On 9 November 2013, the Call the Cops web site published an article positing that the popular Bitstrips cartoon creation app had been revealed by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden as a trojan horse that allows the NSA to secretly access personal user information from Facebook and cell phone communications:

Bitstrips, the fun cartoon generation app growing in popularity on social media, is it turns out a Trojan horse from the NSA to tap your Facebook feed and cell phone. Edward Snowden in his most recent disclosure revealed the origin of the bitstrip program.

According to a statement from Snowden the NSA knew that someday their spying would be made public. They knew that people would respond by demanding more privacy settings. So in response the NSA set up a team to develop apps that will by pass privacy settings, in a legal way.

Shortly afterwards links and excerpts referencing this article were being circulated via social media, with many of those who encountered the item mistaking it for a genuine news item. However, the article was just a spoof from Call the Cops, a satirical web site that bills itself as "America's 27th Most Trusted Site for Public Safety News" and notes on its "About Us" page that:

This site is a satire of the current state of Law Enforcement, Fire Fighting and Emergency Medical work. Stories posted here are not real and you should not assume them to have any basis in any real fact. Heck we tend to leave in spelling and grammer errors just to prove we is not the professional media.

Last updated:   24 November 2013

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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