The “likes” are taking a backseat on Instagram (at least for a short time), and so is at least one third-party stalking app.
According to CNET, Apple has stepped up and removed a third-party Instagram stalking app from the App Store. Here’s how it starts: The app is called “Like Patrol”, and it launched in the App Store back in July of this year. There isn’t an Android alternative, and the app charges users up to $80 per year to essentially stalk someone’s significant other and keep tabs on their “likes” they double-tap on other Instagram profiles.
The person paying for this service would get notifications every single time the person they were following ever commented or liked with another Instagrammer. According to the report, Like Patrol was blatantly marketed towards folks who wanted to keep tabs on their significant other.
According to the app’s founder, Sergio Luis Quintero, the app had 300 people signed up for it as of this October.
The app doesn’t classify as stalkerware, which abusive partners use to keep track of private information like location data, call logs, text messages and contacts. Still, security experts found that Like Patrol was encouraging stalking behavior by monitoring people’s activities on social media.
Quintero described his app as Instagram’s “Following Tab, on steroids,” enhancing a tool that the social network killed off in early October. The app would deliver notifications by gender, letting subscribers know if the people they followed interacted with posts from men or women, and claimed to have an algorithm to detect if they were posts from attractive people.
Like Patrol was able to do all of this by scraping a person’s public profile, which violates Instagram’s own policies. As a result, Instagram had sent a cease-and-desist letter to Like Patrol, trying to get them to stop their own practices directly. However, Quintero said that he plans on fighting that C&D letter.
But until then, Apple has decided to go ahead and pull the app from the App Store as of Saturday, November 9. Apple says the app violates its own guidelines, but, at the time of publication, neither Apple or Like Patrol had responded to a request for comment.
There is no word on whether or not Quintero is planning to fight Apple’s decision, too.