Instagram shutting down app that tried to mimic ‘Following’ tab

Earlier this month, Instagram removed its controversial ‘Following’ tab. Once the feature was removed, a third-party app aiming to duplicate the functionality quickly rose to popularity. Instagram is now shutting down that application.

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As first reported by CNET, the “Like Patrol” application for iOS launched back in July. Following the removal of Instagram’s following tab, Like Patrol’s founder called the app the “Following tab, on steroids.” Essentially, Like Patrol allowed you to see other people’s likes, comments, follows, and more.

As the app gained popularity, CNET reached out to Instagram to learn more about how Like Patrol was gathering that data. In its response, a Facebook representative said that the Like Patrol’s data scraping violated its policy and that it was issuing a cease-and-desist letter:

“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,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

Instagram’s Following tab proved to be controversial, though it was available in the app for eight years. It allowed users to easily monitor what other people were liking, sharing, and following – and many people were unaware that their actions were being aggregated in the Following tab.

Here’s how Instagram’s head o product, Vishal Shah, explained the removal fo the feature earlier this month:

“People didn’t always know that their activity is surfacing,” Shah said. “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.”

While some people used the Following tab – and subsequently the Like Patrol application – to harmlessly see what friends were interested in, it also became fuel for stalking and jealousy. Read more in the full report from CNET here.

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