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Instagram Remove API Access that Made the 'Being' App Possible

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It's been over a week since the Being app appeared in the iOS store and users found they were able to look through Instagram through other people's eyes. Over 500,000 feeds were viewed by users in the first week alone and Apple were ready to put the app on the Featured page of their store but it looks like it wasn't to be.


We wrote about the app early on after its initial release and I personally found the idea a little creepy. It seemed likely that Instagram wouldn't be happy with users using their service this way even if it was encouraging others to like more photos and follow more users. The problem is that the app does invade users’ privacy. Yes, you could stop people from viewing who you follow by making your account private but then you wouldn't be able to share your photos with the world, just the few that you provide access to. When you sign up to Instagram you're not signing up to broadcast whose photos you follow with the world, you might not mind people seeing when you like or comment on a photo but this is different. You might not want people to see everything you like or follow, especially if you're a celebrity, and you have an image to maintain. People started setting up finstagrams for a reason, so their real Instagram could maintain a certain image but that doesn't mean you're not going to follow your celebrity crushes or all the food porn accounts you like.

The issue with Being is essentially what was wrong with the Twitter app Stolen as well. A separate group have taken the API of a well-known social media service and have used it to create their own app that piggy backs off the original. Because these apps aren't official to the main service, there is no way to opt out of letting other people view or use your accounts. Being might not be as creepy as Stolen was but it was still likely to make some people uncomfortable.

Instagram have yet to comment or even officially say that they've revoked Being's access. The staff at Being removed the app from the iOS store themselves to prevent people from downloading an app that doesn't work. It's hard to say if it'll return to the store because Being and Instagram will have privacy issues to deal with before people can use it again. Though in theory the app is a great way to get closer to friends and celebrities as well as to find new people to follow, it's actually pretty problematic to use. Considering the fact I saw an article aimed at teenagers saying hey, you guys can use this app to stalk your crush! Seeing exactly the amount of girls or guys they follow and are liking the pictures of could just wind up upsetting you in the long run. We're all used to social media stalking but Being just took it a little too far.

We will update on this case if anything new comes to light but for now you might just have to stick to being yourself on Instagram.



Rosina is a Songbird rookie with a degree in Creative Writing. She's trying to focus on her novel on the side but is hoping that Content Writing will turn out to be a good career choice in the mean time! Follow her @RosinaAtSMF


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Instagram Remove API Access that Made the 'Being' App Possible Reviewed by Rosina Brooker on Monday, February 29, 2016 Rating: 5

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