Keeping up with your laundry list of social media accounts can be exhausting. In fact, you may be considering declaring social bankruptcy. For all of modern technology’s promises to facilitate connection, let’s face it, we all know a few people who we’d rather avoid. Online, a simple block, unfollow or unfriend takes care of that. But what about in real life? Thankfully, there’s an app for that.
Cloak, the recently released app for iOS bills itself as such: “Incognito mode in real life. Avoid exes, co-workers, that guy who likes to stop and chat — anyone you’d rather not run into. Cloak scrapes Instagram and Foursquare to let you know where all your friends, ‘friends,’ frenemies and non-friends are at all times, so you never have to run into that unspecial someone. Think of it as the antisocial network.”
Geo tags, updates, posts, social check-ins on Foursquare, Instagram and other social networks must be enabled for Cloak to function properly. Sure, there’s profound irony in avoiding annoying people by using an app that follows their social media feeds, but Cloak’s creators say it’s worth it. “We advise the heavy use of the hate follow,” Chris Baker and Brian Moore told Motherboard via email. “Foursquare is great for the hate follow because no one’s really checking that for content like Instagram.”
For those who think this app scraping is an invasion of privacy, don’t worry, Cloak doesn’t actually scrape data — it only mines social media information already in use. “Your phone is using your friends’ Instagram and Foursquare data, but not us,” Baker and Moore explained. ”So that data lives locally, in front of you, but we here at Cloak are not seeing it.”
While Cloak may help you steer clear of irritating folks with whom you’re familiar, unfortunately, the app won’t help you avoid annoying strangers. I’m talking about you, gum-poppers, loud cell phone talkers in the checkout line and girl at the party who can’t stop talking about herself. But hey, “This Is Water.”