Today, numerous apps for smart devices make everyday activities more convenient to complete, which in turn makes people’s lives easier. There are apps that facilitate communication, apps that make note-taking simpler, and apps that allow people to take photographs and document memories. In addition to all of the straightforward, traditional apps that enhance living, however, there are some apps that create controversy — either due to their intended purpose or their misuse after release. The following 5 apps remain available for download regardless of the serious debates they’ve sparked across the tech world and beyond.
Yik Yak didn’t aim to stir up trouble, but it happened. Originally, this location-based social media app was simply meant to connect people to other people in the same geographic vicinity. However, the app allows people to post anonymously to any user within a 10-mile radius, and it’s this very ability that has led people to use it for cyber-bullying and threat-making. Media outlets such as the New York Times have reported about Yik Yak’s reputation as a bullying platform, and many colleges and high schools have tried to block students from using it. Despite the controversy, however, the company refuses to remove its anonymous posting option.
DOWN is a “dating” app that lets Facebook users determine if friends are interested in hooking up. DOWN asks users to classify the users on their Facebook friends list by either “Get Up,” which means to go on a date or potentially have a serious relationship, or “Get Down,” which means to have a strictly sexual relationship. (It also offers the option to swipe left for “NOPE”). DOWN then notifies users if they have swiped each other in the same direction. DOWN is much like Tinder, except that it quickly makes motivations clear.
Another dating app that causes eyebrows to raise is The League. What makes The League so controversial is that it’s exclusive — you have to be considered “elite” to join it, and there’s a long waiting list to get in. The League claims to vet date options for elites so they can be sure the people they meet via the app are good looking, successful, from a good neighbourhood, and well-educated.
Telegram, a communication app, is controversial for a completely different — and perhaps more serious — reason than the other apps on this list. It’s been used by ISIS members to communicate securely. Telegram has been hotly debated because it can be easily encrypted, and ISIS has used the app to do things like spread propaganda and sell sex slaves.
Mr. Checkpoint is a free app that alerts people to DUI checkpoints in their area. Mr. Checkpoint can help save time for people who are in a hurry and don’t want to deal with a sobriety checkpoint. This is controversial because it also alerts people who have been drinking about where they might get stopped — encouraging them to take another route and potentially drive while intoxicated. Several years ago, U.S. senators asked Apple to remove DUI checkpoint apps from the Apple Store. However, Mr. Checkpoint lives on.
There are countless apps available in app stores today — many of which are straightforward and useful. However, some hotly debated apps remain on the market — many with equal numbers of critics and fans.