App uses social media data to make avoiding people easier

A new iPhone app allows users to harness the power of social media to become as anti-social as possible.

Cloak lets users view a map with location data taken from their friends’ Foursquare and Instagram posts in order to avoid contact.

Users can flag specific friends — or all of them — and will receive an alert if they’re nearby. The warning distance ranges between within one block and 2 miles.

Cloak joins the ranks of apps like Hell is Other People, which uses Foursquare to determine the best places to go to avoid friends.

Kaitlyne Kramer, a 20-year-old nursing sophomore, said she has heard of Cloak but thinks using Instagram data could raise issues.

“I’ve seen people get tagged in the middle of the ocean,” she said. “Also, you’re able to put any location you want when you upload.”

Kramer said she thinks people who don’t regularly post their location on Instagram could also pose a problem. Cloak would probably assume they’re in the same place for weeks, she said.

“People could be stuck in Spring Break forever,” she said.

UF social media specialist Bruce Floyd said because the app doesn’t provide original content, it requires a large influx of user data from sources like Foursquare.

“If it isn’t provided, the app will die,” he said. “They don’t have purpose unless we provide content.”

Steve Johnson, a UF journalism adjunct lecturer, said the creation of this app and others like it might reflect a growing movement of people trying to go “off the grid.”

However, Floyd said anti-social apps like Cloak don’t indicate a move away from large social media sites because people still have a need for these sites.

Krystal Dixon, an 18-year-old marketing freshman, said she sees how useful the app could be, even though she doesn’t use it now.

“I know some people who could use this app,” she said. “It’s funny, and it might come in handy sometime.”

Download cloak from the App store

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