While social media and technology have brought some truly amazing functions to the table, the rise of using this as an excuse to stalk friends, family, and significant others is not as glamorous. Recently following the removal of Instagram’s Following tab, an app called Like Patrol scraped users’ data without their consent. Because of this, Instagram filed a cease-and-desist letter to Like Patrol. We can assume that the app won’t be around much longer due to its unethical policies.
If you aren’t familiar with the term scraping, it’s when entities extract data from websites. Don’t be a web scraper.
Why It’s Wrong
Like Patrol is basically the Instagram Following tab, “on steroids,” according to the app’s founder Sergio Luis Quintero. No matter who the tracked user on Like Patrol is, the person tracking them has access to their activity on the platform. This includes what pictures they like, as well as what comments they make and which ones they like from other people. On top of that, the tracker has the ability to see who the tracked person’s top fans are, ranked in order from most to least, and even check out who they recently followed. It is a direct violation into an experience that is supposed to be solely their own, and this is why Instagram seeks to shut it down.
The app even claims to have an algorithm that can detect the attractiveness of a person’s photos. The more likes that the tracked person gives the said attractive person, the worse it looks to the tracker. And, yes, that data is quickly sent to the tracker.
However, Quintero argues that the information it’s scraping is public information. He also argues that Facebook tracks conversation and picks up data as well, so he sees it as open season. Quintero wants to take this to a more local level with the average boyfriend and girlfriend. The owner of the app announced that fewer than 300 people signed up to use its services. This is an obvious sign that business is not booming.
No matter what happens, we can all agree that using such impressive social media and technology to stalk a significant other is wrong. This is why it’s very likely that Like Patrol will soon no longer exist.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you think this app is morally wrong or do you not see anything wrong with? Let us know your thoughts!