Stalker-friendly iOS app pulled from iTunes store
Ultra creepy iOS app no longer poses threat to Facebook and Foursquare users
Apps are amazing; the good ones can really change your life if you use them the right way. Others, however, can be downright pointless, boring, or in the case of “Girls Around Me,” really effin’ creepy. The stalker-friendly application, which was very clearly designed for dudes, allowed users to find names, photos and personal information of nearby women.
To be totally fair, users could find men, too. But it wasn’t called “People Around Me,” was it? Also, I think the developers made it pretty clear what their intentions for the app were with this description:
Do you ever wonder where to go for a night out, where the coolest place is, where there are lots of pretty girls, or how to meet someone new and interesting? Girls Around Me scans your surroundings and helps you find out where girls or guys are hanging out. You can also see the ratio of girls to guys in different places around you.
In the mood for love, or just after a one-night stand? Girls Around Me puts you in control! Reveal the hottest nightspots, who’s in them, and how to reach them…
At its core, it worked a lot like many other location-based apps, pinpointing venues on a map, but then taking it a step further by showing names and photos of the women who were currently hanging out in those places. Once a user clicked on a girl’s picture, he could then access her entire Facebook profile including photo albums, wall posts and likes, among other things.
This was possible because these women had public Facebook pages, which basically meant the information was up for grabs. But as Cult of Mac points out, that doesn’t mean all of these women realized their pages were public. And even if they did, they probably had no idea their information was being used quite like this. The app was then able to figure out where these women were spending their time thanks to public Foursquare check-ins (Foursquare quickly put an end to that once it found out).
Despite its 70,000+ downloads, the app didn’t go over as well with critics. Gizmodo called it “the world’s creepiest app,” while the New York Times Bits blog said that Girls Around Me took “creepy to a new level.” They weren’t wrong. And I think it’s safe to say that most people—well, at least most women—would agree. And as a result of that, along with Foursquare basically telling the developer to back off, the app has been pulled from the iTunes store. The decision to axe it came from the company that created it, even though it still defends its unsettling creation.