Instagram issues “cease-and-desist” to a third-party app named ‘Like Patrol’

Instagram issues a “cease-and-desist” order to an app ‘Like Patrol’ for violating the social network rules. The so-called app allows its users to scrape the information from Instagram. That is the app scrapes and gives information about the activity of Instagram users. Thus the Facebook-owned Instagram issued a “cease-and-desist” order forcing the publisher to shut down the app for violating the social network rules.

At the beginning of this month, Instagram killed its ‘Following’ Tab from the Instagram app, putting an end to the controversies. The Tab allowed you to see the activities of the one you are following on the app. For instance, you can see what picture they liked and what they commented on it using the ‘Following’ Tab.

Even Instagram users thought that the Tab was a violation of their privacy as all conversations and different content like pictures were also seen by all their followers. Due to the overabundance of the content, the Instagram users do not use this Tab particularly. Hearing the complaints from the user side, Instagram killed the ‘Following ‘ Tab.

During the removal of the Tab, Vishal Shah, Instagram Head of product said, “People didn’t always know that their activity is surfacing. So you have a case where it’s not serving the use case you built if for, but it’s also causing people to be surprised when their activity is showing up”.

Following the removal of the Tab from the Instagram app, a similar third-party app called ‘Like Patrol’ became very popular among the users. This app allows users to scrape information from other users from Instagram. The number of users also increased gradually for this new app due to the removal of the ‘Following ‘ Tab.

A Facebook spokesman said, “Scraping violates our policies, and we take action against companies who we find to be engaging in it. Like Patrol was scraping people’s data, so we are taking appropriate enforcement action against them”. But, the founder of the ‘Like Patrol’ app calls the app the ‘Following tab, on steroids’.

Recently, Instagram launched a new feature called ‘Restrict’ which will allow you to stop the people who are bullying them. That is, stop people who bully through offensive posts or aggressive comments. The intended user can be restricted through swiping left on the comment that is by going into the privacy tab in settings. You can also block them through the profile of the user.

But, ‘Like Patrol’ is not a stalkerware app, but it is similar to one. Wendy Zamora editor-in-chief of cybersecurity company Malwarebytes said, “It’s monitoring a person’s activities, compiling it and sending it as a report”. Sergio Luis Quintero argues that the data it is scraping is just the public data. He says that ‘Like Patrol’ warns you that many eyes are watching you. Like, the private detectives will monitor your profile, and even the law enforcement will monitor the Facebook groups.

Quintero defends his app, saying, “Our hope in the medium to long terms if enough people know of our existence they may think twice about behaving improperly”. Zamora says, “When you talk about it in the context of domestic abuse, this could light fires for people who are using social media as a form of control. This could potentially enrage somebody to be making mountains out of molehills”.

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