Within the past hour of publishing, Stolen creators ‘Hey Inc.’ have completely shut down the ‘Stolen’ app from the Apple App Market.
The app allowed you to to “own” Twitter profiles, much like a trading card game, in return for virtual currency termed as ‘social currency’ by Hey Inc. CEO Siqi Chen. This was available for any and all accounts, given that they hadn’t ‘opted out’.
This gave way to a multitude of complaints surrounding the issue of consent. The issue gained notable prominence when Congresswoman Katherine Clark wrote a formal notice to both Apple’s Tim Cook and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.
Many notable feminist figures have also expressed their distaste at the app, suggesting it gives way to sexist and insulting language due to its unfiltered ‘nickname’ and ‘comment’ sections. The issue of deep-routed harassment was also raised, suggesting the app could be used by domestic abusers and ‘trollers’ alike.
Despite this complaint, the App was used by many notable figures; from many of Twitter’s staff to celebrity giants like KSI and almost all Vine ‘stars’, amongst countless film and music figures. The App was also given a feature by the Times website, which arguably gave way to its rise in popularity.
According to Siqi Chen, the App had 40,000 users and “hundreds of thousands” of people who downloaded the App, making it one of the largest and fastest-growing Apps of the past two years.
However, the team behind Stolen has now completely shut down the service. At 10:42pm GMT, the @getstolen Twitter account Tweeted, “We’ve decided to shut down the Stolen! app and service until further notice. Thank you for everyone’s support.”
This was followed by a Tweet to Katherine Cook, stating, “Thank you. We agree with these concerns so we have voluntarily completely shut down our service until we can make this right.”
At 10:51pm GMT, the team then Tweeted, “If you have done IAPs [In App Purchases], refunds are available through iTunes. We appreciate all the support but shutting down the right thing to do right now” [sic]
Finally, the official Twitter account changed it’s description to state, “Thank you for your support. The Stolen service and app is no longer available.”
Social media has responded largely negatively, with one user writing, “RIP Stolen” and controversial ‘prankster’ Sam Pepper writing, “you gave in to social hate, if people don’t like your app they don’t have to use it…”
A request for an interview with Siqi Chen and Katherine Clark has so far been unsuccessful as of time of publishing.
-Benjamin John Wareing