Social networks were designed to enable people to share their lives more easily, but what if they don't want to?

Apps prevent undesired encounters

A new app uses data from social networks to help people prevent from bumping into those they wish to avoid.

Developed by Israeli company Split, the app, designed to work on Apple’s iOS and Android-powered devices alike, allows users to select be-friended people from social networks they don’t want to meet. The app then uses data from Facebook and sends out an alert whenever a risk of a face-to-face encounter in the real world arises and proposes an alternative route.

"Everybody has somebody they want to avoid," said Udi Dagan, chief executive officer at Split. "For some people, it's their exes; for others, it's their bosses or even relatives that they don't feel like bumping into during their free time."

A similar application, only for iOS, has been developed by a New York-based company called Cloak. Instead of Facebook, it uses information from Foursquare or Instagram and sends notifications when a feared person comes within a 2-mile distance from the user.

“You can tap on someone and flag them," said Cloak’s co-founder Brian Moore. "That means you'll get background notifications whenever they come close to you."

The creators of the apps, which are available worldwide, said all the information used was already publicly available and that they were simply aggregating it into one place.

Split and Cloak gather location data from social network updates and check-ins. Photo-sharing network Instagram includes location data whenever a photo is uploaded. Both apps gather data from Foursquare and Instagram, and Split gets additional data from Facebook and Twitter.

The information is as accurate as a person's last update or check-in that contained his or her location.

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