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'Anti-social' app Cloak hides you from unwanted friends

Date

Mahesh Sharma

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A screenshot of the Cloak app.

A screenshot of the Cloak app.

Awkwardly bumping into your ex and his or her new flame could be a thing of the past as a new "anti-social" networking app promises to help users avoid unwanted confrontations.

Cloak identifies and maps the contacts in your immediate vicinity using location data from other social apps.

If they've posted photos on Instagram or checked in to places near you using Foursquare, their location will be shown on a map.

The app doesn't use data from Twitter because its founders say this is inaccurate.

If you're desperate to avoid a chance encounter with an acquaintance – say a co-worker, a scorned former lover or a debt collector – the app will even notify you when they enter a preset radius.

"Personally, I think we've seen the crest of the big social network," one of Cloak's founders Chris Baker told The Washington Post.

"Things like Twitter and Facebook are packed elevators where we're all crammed in together ... I think anti-social stuff is on the rise," said Baker, a former advertising executive at popular social news website Buzzfeed.

"You'll be seeing more and more of these types of projects."

A similar website launched last year, "Hell is other people", tracked friends on Foursquare and calculated optimal distances to avoid them.

Baker claimed, via Twitter, they started working on Cloak at the same time.

It's not the first time Baker has taken his scissors to society's thinly woven fabric.

His previous anti-social exploits include: unbaby.me, which replaces baby photos on your Facebook with pictures of cats; a website to troll the NSA; and "Hate with Friends", which determines whether you and Facebook mutually dislike each other.

In response to feedback on Twitter, Baker also tweeted a link to Henry David Thoreau's book Walden, which documents a two-year, two-month, and two-day period of self-imposed isolation in the woods.

Cloak co-founder Brian Moore has previously worked on a UNICEF app that asks people to go without their phones to trigger donations of drinking water to developing countries. He also developed datingbrian.com, a website documenting his attempts to find a date after ending a long-term relationship.

9 comments

  • "If they've posted photos on Instagram or checked in to places near you using Foursquare"

    I'm trying to picture a Venn digaram. I haven't used Facebook in years. Since my friends got frustrated and started cheating at Scrabulous to be precise. Don't use Instagram and don't even know what Foursquare is. Thought it was an Indian cigarette brand actually but clearly not. So am avoiding all these types online already but forfeit the ability to track and avoid them irl.

    That's the problem I guess. Most of my 40something friends have gone into stealth mode online already so can't be avoided this way anyway.

    It all seems paradoxical to me. People who constantly post photos and inane crap with their GPS coords tagged clearly don't want to avoid even a skerrick of the attention they whore. So the target audience is tech savvy people who collect annoying "friends" but are slightly less annoying themselves?

    Commenter
    Pfft
    Location
    None of your bidness
    Date and time
    March 19, 2014, 2:49PM
    • Or just do what I do: if you bump into them, pretend you didn't see them.

      Commenter
      Chris
      Date and time
      March 19, 2014, 3:25PM
  • Why would these people be in your contacts anyway? this is more like a convenient stalking app for stalkers who have too much time on their hands and stalk multiple people at once. A real anti-social app is one that either deletes all your accounts automatically, or makes your phone burst into flames.

    Commenter
    pb
    Date and time
    March 19, 2014, 3:04PM
    • I totally dig your comment !!

      Commenter
      monique
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 20, 2014, 9:42AM
  • So George Michael Bluth's WoodBlock has become reality.

    Commenter
    G.O.B
    Location
    Sudden Valley
    Date and time
    March 19, 2014, 3:10PM
    • So presumably you would have to have your ex, co-worker or debt collector as a "friend" in one of the social network apps because i assume you provide your log in details for all of them then add the people you want to avoid. Then, they would need to have privacy settings open enough that enable you to see what they are posting or where they are checking in to. If i had used this app today, based on my instagram feed it would have said I was in Cambodia or Canberra.Stupid.

      Commenter
      sandog
      Location
      Melburnia
      Date and time
      March 19, 2014, 3:13PM
      • I can use two simple words whenever I run into someone I don’t want to know, see or hear from. Hardly requires an app but then I’m not paranoid like so many, who’ve obviously got too much time on their hands, to fart around worrying about what other people are doing near them.

        Commenter
        Jeff
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        March 19, 2014, 6:30PM
        • Great Pfft: got a lock on you now...you are stuck in a different decade ... like a lot of us ... the horror, the horror ...

          Commenter
          DoubleHelixMutant
          Location
          Canberra
          Date and time
          March 19, 2014, 7:36PM
          • those are old news... Split - the anti social app is by far better, and also includes data from Facebook and twitter.
            https://itunes.apple.com/il/app/split-the-anti-social-app/id668717017?mt=8

            Commenter
            stam Man
            Date and time
            March 19, 2014, 10:33PM
            Comments are now closed
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