There have been countless location-based smartphone apps over the years showing where your social media contacts are, usually with the theory that you’ll want to meet them.
What if the opposite is true? That’s the idea behind a new “anti-social networking” app called Cloak, which launched this week for the Apple iPhone.
Initially, it uses data from Foursquare and Instagram to pinpoint the location of your contacts based on their latest records and photographs, plotting them on a map that also shows your current location.
âCloak scratches Instagram and Foursquare to let you know the whereabouts of all your friends, ‘friends’ and non-friends at all times so you never have to meet that special someone,â says his App Store listing.
Support for these two social networks makes Cloak of limited value at this time, as the two largest services – Facebook and Twitter – are not included. Cloak says he will be adding more social media in the future, although it looks like Twitter is not one of them.
âWhy isn’t Twitter included as a service?!?! Well, the location data just isn’t there, âthe listing explains. “Most people have turned it off and even when it’s on, it’s pretty vague.”
Early App Store reviews weren’t impressed, with Cloak currently earning a two-star rating. âWhat’s no fb or twitter, a waste of time then,â suggests one disgruntled downloader. “Nice idea … but useless unless it includes Facebook and Twitter,” proclaims another.
For his part, Cloak – co-founded by former BuzzFeed executive Chris Baker – sees himself as part of a larger backlash against big social media.
âThings like Twitter and Facebook are crowded elevators we’re all crammed together,â he told the Washington Post. âI think anti-social stuff is on the rise. You will see more and more of these types of projects.
Baker’s got a kick out of it: he previously released the Unbaby.me browser extension, which replaces baby photos posted by Facebook friends with âawesome stuffâ including cats and bacon, before posting it. expand to a service called Rather which has helped Facebook users block a range of keyword-based topics.