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Yes, the title is ironic.
I don’t normally do the soapbox thing, but this one really ground my gears. Today I got an email from a PR company, Insider, promoting a new Facebook app that’s been designed to promote a new MTV show.
I’m not going to provide a link, but I’m sure you’ll find it easily enough if you do a search for their Ex-posure app.
The app allows you to select any one of your facebook friends, and then using their posting data, it generates a geographical heat map showing the places that they most frequently visit. Ostensibly so that you can ‘avoid’ them, but it doesn’t take a genius to work out that you could also use this to stalk someone too. MTV are well aware of this - they even mention it in their press release FFS (The emphasis on ‘avoiding’ and the typo in the middle are verbatim btw):
"BUT it’s not just about avoiding an ex, users can also turn the tables on their old flame and maximise their Ex-posure to ensure that dreaded first encounter is on their terms. Keen to show off that fabulous post-break up makeover, or with a new beau on their arm, users canshow their ex what they’ve missing out on.”
Of course, as someone on twitter pointed out, this will only work if people geotag their posts publicly, which is true, but I don’t think that naivety about Facebook privacy settings should leave you open to being stalked by exes. Or indeed, stalked by anyone. Here’s a useful guide to make sure your geo location information is hidden.
Stalking is a huge problem in the UK. Some stats for ya, taken from here:
It’s especially incredible given that this stunt comes from a channel largely aimed at a young audience - normalising stalking behaviour to a teen audience (potentially Facebook users as young as 12) that’s still learning about personal boundaries and sexual politics is clearly a massive clusterfuck. Obviously I raised these concerns with the Insider PR team - here’s that unbelievable correspondence in full.
Seriously, fuck these guys.