Last month, Instagram pulled the "Following" feature from its platform mainly because it revealed a lot, almost too much, information about what your friends and the accounts you follow were doing on the media-sharing app. Now, Apple has pulled the stalking app from the App Store.
Instagram also sent a cease-and-desist letter to Like Patrol, an app that has been described by its creators as the Following tab "on steroids," for violating its policies against data collection, as we previously reported.
Apple removed the Like Patrol app, which allows subscribers to keep track of other users' social media activity, from its App Store on Saturday. The developers of the app basically took Instagram's discontinued Following tab and made it even more invasive.
For an annual fee of $80, the Like Patrol app allowed users to set alerts filtered by gender and the app would notify them when people they followed liked or commented on posts belonging to men or women. The app targeted people in relationships, allowing them to use the app to monitor who their partners were interacting with on Instagram. The app apparently even had an algorithm that decided whether those users were attractive or not.
The app's official website downplays the potential of the app to used as a creepy tool to stalk or spy on other Instagram users by saying things like "Check out current liked posts. You'll never miss out on the best content" and "Find new friends by looking at their recently followed!" but you don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out how this app can be misused.
After Apple removed the app from the App Store, Like Patrol's founder, Sergio Luis Quintero, said the company will not go down without a fight. "We strongly believe that our app does not violate Apple policies, we plan to appeal this decision in the coming days," he said. "If our app's functionality did violate any policies, then Instagram would have violated the exact same policies since 2011 to 2019 with the Following tab. Why weren't they taken down?"