5 phone apps that have done way more damage than good

In the last decade, having a smart phone has made our lives so much easier. We’re able to connect to one another at the touch of a few buttons, and completing simple tasks? Piece of cake. Remember when we had to actually print out directions to get somewhere, let alone use a giant folding map? Not anymore. So while technology has greatly improved our lives over the years, there have been downsides. A few apps developed for good reasons have sometimes lead to less than pleasant results. While not everything falls into this category, thankfully, here are few recent apps that have cause some minor damage.

1) Yik Yak

When it was founded, the instant messenger Yik Yak aimed to “make the world feel small again by giving you a feed of all the casual, relatable, heartfelt and silly things people are saying around you.” What started as a way for people to anonymously interact with their community, though, has since transformed into a channel for cyberbullying and racist comments. Just last November, two students were arrested for making death threats on the app.

2) Flappy Bird

The popular iPhone game, modeled loosely off of Angry Birds, was a hit back in 2014, generating over $50,000 dollars a day at its peak. So, when the owner Dong Nguyen, suddenly removed the app from the App Store, people everywhere were confused.  According to Nguyen, not only was the app bringing him unwanted media attention (paparazzi began setting up shop outside of his parents’ home on the reg) but it was also starting to become “too addictive” for some families. Many parents reported that their children were becoming obsessed and some people even noted that they had lost their jobs as a result of the game’s addictiveness.

3) Telegram

For those looking to protect their private conversations, Telegram is a Godsend. The messaging service offers users the chance to text their friends in a secure environment, away from the prying eyes of the NSA or their parents. But the app has recently come under fire for providing security to the wrong people. Terrorists, to be exact. Business Insider recently reported that many criminal organizations have started using the application to recruit new members and discuss covert operations, which is problematic for reasons that I shouldn’t have to explain.

4) PostSecret

When creator Frank Warren launched the original PostSecret app back in 2012, the goal was simple: provide a space for people to create and share secrets anonymously. While the app did fulfill its purpose by allowing users to interact with others anonymously, it was eventually shut down due to a number of “bad seeds” uploading “secrets” featuring disturbing images. Warren announced the app’s removal three months after its launch, noting “I was contacted by law enforcement about bad content on the App. Threats were made against users, moderators and my family. As much as we tried, we were unable to maintain a bully-free environment.”

5) Recognizr

Have you ever forgotten your coworkers name at an event, but you were too afraid to ask what it was? Wouldn’t it be nice to have an app that would help you remember it? If you’re thinking “yes,” take a moment to read about Recognizr.  The Swedish-designed app came out in 2010 and had a singular purpose: to help people identify acquaintances whose names may have slipped their mind. But fears began swirling around the app’s other features, which allow users to identify strangers on the street through facial recognition and track their personal information. While the app has been taken off the market, Android and Apple have expressed interest in similar projects, with Apple investing in Emotient, an artificial-intelligence facial recognition app, earlier this year. So that’s comforting.

(Image via Shutterstock)