Last month, Instagram removed the ‘Following’ tab from its app as the feature had become more of a “stalking tool” rather than aiding users with new account discovery. Now, Apple is cracking down on third-party apps that offer the same functionality, starting with pulling with ‘Like Patrol’ app from the App Store (via CNET).
Developers of Like Patrol, who described the app as the Following tab “on steroids,” received a cease-and-desist letter from Instagram late last month for violating its policies against data collection.
The app first showed up in Apple’s store in July and charged its service subscribers up to $80 a year to get notifications anytime someone they followed commented on or liked a photo.
The app specifically targeted people in relationships, saying they could use the app to keep tabs on whoever their partners were communicating with on Instagram. On Saturday, Apple pulled Like Patrol from the App Store and said the app violated its guidelines.
Like Patrol’s founder, Sergio Luis Quintero, told CNET in an email that the company will fight to get back on the App Store.
“We strongly believe that our app does not violate Apple policies, we plan to appeal this decision in the coming days,” he said. “If our app’s functionality did violate any policies, then Instagram would have violated the exact same policies since 2011 to 2019 with the Following tab. Why weren’t they taken down?”
Like Patrol’s founder has also said that he would be making the app’s tools open source and available for anybody to use in the coming days.