I tried not to write about how this is the year Facebook turns ten, if only because it makes me feel old. Once my school was finally added to the network (You still had to be in university then) all of my on campus pals posted their class schedules as status updates and which wifi enabled building they were in hanging out if anyone wanted to swing by. If they had cellphones no one called because it was school hours and texting was expensive. Yeah, it was 2003.
So by now you’ve probably heard how the Couple app is integrating location services into its app, saying it will allow couples to ‘more easily find each other.’ The site says it allows one partner to broadcast their location to the other and will only push the broadcast for 30 minutes before it is deactivated, which tones down the creep factor, but still leaves me wondering if I am the only one who thinks this will escalate abusive relationships?
Technology has created some problems with the language of love and relationships before. We already know that Facebook makes us miserable, and FOMO is real. We have created something that constantly makes us feel inadequate, and sometimes paranoid. So an app that allows people to let them know where their partner is at any given minute is bound to spiral out of control.
Abusers often need to know where their partner is and who they are with at all times, and get angry when they don’t have that information. This app gives them that information, and although choice is a big part of the rhetoric for this application, it’s not realistic for those in abusive relationships to feel like they really have a choice in this features’ use. If your partner has already read your emails and your texts for a while, what is GPS tracking to keep the peace?
Obviously not everyone who uses this application is an abuser or is in an abusive relationship. Like Facebook does not personally make me miserable all the time, there are exceptions to every rule. Regardless, what is created and is sent out into the ether is deserving of a more meaningful analysis about its potential use, and how it may affect all of us, especially those who are in a position where the odds are somewhat stacked against them.
What do you think? Do you think this app’s new feature could escalate violent relationships?
So with the NSA’s leaked documents continuing to pour out thanks to my new favourite person, Edward Snowden, all of Silicon Valley is getting a little nervous as the information keeps coming. And just a few days after Google and the other Tech giants leaned on the government to ask them to tone down the NSA’s, ya know, spying, we discover that our pals at the NSA (Hi guys.) are using Google’s cookies to gather intelligence.
And boy, is Google’s face as red.
Facebook is Blamed for HIV Increase.
Read why I think blaming Facebook and GRINDR for the increase in HIV in Austrailia in the past year is total crap on Shoe String.