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Use Cloak to avoid social-network frenemies in real life

The iPhone application, which bills itself as an antisocial network, alerts you when flagged Instagram and Foursquare "friends" are close by.


A new iPhone app called Cloak promises to help you keep your distance from contacts in your digital circle who you'd rather avoid in real life.

The application, which bills itself as an "antisocial network," is as simple as they come in that it has a single purpose: to alert you to the nearby whereabouts of flagged Instagram and Foursquare "friends."

The idea is to let you construct the opposite of a contact list, so that you know when your overly loquacious acquaintance Joe is inching dangerously close to your current location.

Cloak connects to your Instagram and Foursquare accounts and uses the location data associated with your friends' updates to find out where they are. The app plots people on a map and lets you flag friends to track. When a flagged contact is within a specified range of one block, half a mile, a mile, or two miles, you'll get a push notification so that you can avoid the approaching person if you'd prefer.

Though it could come in handy when trying to avoid awkward social situations, the iPhone application seems more social shtick than actually antisocial, considering the complex ways people use social networks.

Cloak has at least one major flaw in logic and, thus, practice. Presumably, the people you really want to avoid -- exes and enemies -- are the ones you long ago deleted from your digital social circle. And for the token few frenemies you've kept social ties with, getting an alert to their whereabouts could prove more unsettling than insightful. But such seems to be social life in the digital age: Too complicated for any one app to grasp.

(Via The Washington Post)