Sunday 21 January 2018

Stolen people buying app removed from App store


Paul Mallon

An app called Stolen was designed to let you play and trade with real Twitter profiles has been removed from the app store

An app called Stolen was released recently, it let you steal people. Kind of.

The point of the app was that you could use in-game currency to snap up the Twitter profiles of pretty much anyone on the social service. The kicker was that every profile had a value and that changed all the time depending on how popular it was. So you could buy up Justin Bieber's Twitter account but you'd need a huge amount of the in game cash to do so. At the same time, folks might be spending to get your profile and you can see your own value going up and down. And, of course, you could buy in game cash with real world money.

It was, basically, harmless - all that happened when your profile was bought was you got a message saying that another user 'owned' you. And that's where the trouble lies.

Over the last few days, numerous complaints have been levied against Stolen for the language it uses, the notion of buying and selling people, of owning even something like their profile. Putting a value on other members of humanity isn't the best idea either, and there's also a significant security issue over the idea that you can do this to anyone - they don't need to be connected to you or even your friend on Twitter.

In the wake of that negative reaction, Stolen developers Hey Inc have taken the big decision to remove the software entirely from the app store. They said that all in game purchases will be refunded by iTunes, so any users should look into that for their lost funds.

The idea was put together as a fun social game, a way of assigning virtual value to profiles and trading them between the up to 40,000 players who had registered. Of course Hey also had a business model in place and one which could have been majorly profitable once user numbers increased. Now the app is gone for good, with the company confirming they have no plans to relaunch with a similar concept.

It's certainly should function as a cautionary tale for other app developers out there.

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