Jessica Goodfellow
Nov 12, 2019

Apple bans Instagram surveillance app

Instagram phased out a feature within its app that allowed users to track other people's activity, leading to copycat services.

Apple bans Instagram surveillance app

Apple has removed an app from its App Store that enabled users to monitor other people's activity on Instagram, a few weeks after the photo-sharing app sent a cease-and-desist letter to the app's developers. 

The app, Like Patrol, enables its subscribers to keep tabs on people on Instagram by sending them notifications when someone they follow comments on or likes a photo, as well as collecting an individual's top fans and new followers. It charges people up to US$80 a year for this service.

On its website, it targets people who want to spy on their partners.

Instagram sent a cease-and-desist letter to Like Patrol at the end of October for violating its policies against data collection.

The photo-sharing app formally had a 'Following' tab within its app that allowed users to see their followers' activity on the social network. It phased the tab out in early October after finding it wasn't being used frequently and it was "unnerving" in its detail.

The maker of Like Patrol reportedly described the app as the Following tab “on steroids". 

The app was removed from the App Store over the weekend, with Apple telling CNET it violated the company's guidelines.

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