Much is being done to prevent people from using stalking apps to snoop on people’s social media accounts. Recently, the App Store and Google Play Store have focused on specifically banning Instagram stalker apps. This crack down isn’t a surprise especially when the FTC just charged a stalking app developer with invading consumers’ privacy.
Here are some of the Instagram stalking apps that were recently banned in app stores:
On November 9th, 2019, the stalker app, Like Patrol, was removed from Apple’s App Store. Instagram sent them a cease-and-desist letter saying they violated their policies pertaining to data collection.
Like Patrol is an Instagram stalking app specifically targeted towards those who are dating someone new. It allowed its users to view someone’s liked posts, who they recently followed, and who their top likers are. The app first became available in the App Store in July 2019, and cost $80 per year.
In response to the situation, Sergio Luis Quintero, Like Patrol’s founder, told CNET:
“We strongly believe that our app does not violate Apple policies, we plan to appeal this decision in the coming days. 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?”
As first reported by Android Police, Ghostly was banned from the Google Play Store. This stalking app takes shady and creepy to a whole new level. Instagram sent them a cease-and-desist letter claiming their app violated their terms.
Ghostly joined Google Play in April 2019, and had over 500,000 downloads prior it to it being removed. It gave users the ability to provide their Instagram login credentials and invite someone else to get the app. Then, they would be able to view the other person’s private accounts. To access more information, users were asked to watch ads or pay.
Even though both of these apps are not technically considered “stalkerware” or “spy apps”, they do promote stalking. No one’s social media accounts should be viewed without the permission of the account owner.
Besides the app stores, Instagram has started to prevent stalking on its app by removing the “Following” tab, and replaced it with “Activity”. However, banning Instagram stalker apps and taking these precautions isn’t going to stop the overall issue. As long as these types of applications and software exist online (not just in app stores), people will continue to use them.