File photo of people walking past the Starbucks outlet on 47th and 8th Avenue in New York
People walk past the Starbucks outlet on 47th and 8th Avenue in New York in this June 29, 2010 file photo. REUTERS

The app that claimed to be able to identify anyone with just a photo based on searching Facebook photos is officially a hoax.

The app called “Facezam,” after the social networking site Facebook and the music identifying app Shazam, said it could identify someone by matching a photo taken of them with their Facebook profile. It went all out pretending to be a legitimate app even announcing a fake release date of March 21. It had social media feeds and a website with app mockups. The fake founder even did interviews with news sources.

The app’s website has come down and now only reads, “ For those concerned about Facezam, the app never existed and is never going to launch.” The entire thing was a publicity stunt done by a marketing agency based in London.

“Users will be able to identify anyone within a matter of seconds, which means privacy will no longer exist in public society,” Jack Kenyon, a man who claimed to be the founder of Facezam told the Telegraph.

In Russia, people on the social network VKontakte can be found using the app FindFace. Facebook uses its own facial recognition software when it recommends tags in photos, as does Google, but software like the kind that Facezam was promoting isn’t currently available to the masses in most of the world.

But Facebook’s app policies would not allow this sort of an app to scan its database, and apps have to undergo Facebook checks and reviews before they can go live.