A third-party Instagram app, called “OG App”, promised an ad-free feed like the original Instagram experience, was pulled from Apple’s App Store just a day after it officially launched. It’s unclear if Apple withdrew the app at Meta’s request, but the social network confirmed it had taken “enforcement actions” against the service.
“This app violates our policies and we are taking all appropriate enforcement actions,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement. The spokesperson declined to divulge details about what those actions were, or whether it was related to Apple, but pointed to a blog post outlines Meta’s policies against copying websites.
“A copy site is a third-party website that copies all or part of the content of an existing website,” explains Meta. On Twitter, the developers of the OG App said their entire team has been permanently banned from Facebook and Instagram due to their relationship with the service.
“Users deserve to have control over what they consume, and OG will continue to defend and fight for that right,” Hardik Patil, founder of the app told Engadget. He said he received no direct communication from Meta.
Meta has permanently banned individual Facebook (not OG affiliated) and Instagram (OG affiliated) accounts from everyone in our team.
Meta intends to take special measures to block and censor us simply because we did the right thing with their users. pic.twitter.com/JOzJ81p81k
– OG App 🔗 (@TheOGapp_) September 28, 2022
The OG app has been active for over a year, based on TechCrunch, reported its first launch. The app’s founders told the publication they wanted to offer a “cleaner” version of Instagram without ads. The app’s customizable feeds without Reels, suggested posts, and other newer features have sometimes been controversial among longtime Instagrammers. The Android version of the app is still available.
Meta’s policies have long banned third-party Instagram clients, and in recent years the company has filed a number of lawsuits against developers who violate its rules, including those prohibit duplicate web pages. At the same time, the company is also accused of using similar policies to close legitimate researchers’ try to research this platform.
However, in this case, it seems that the creators of the OG App clearly violated Instagram’s policies. The company does not provide a public API for developers to build their own version of Instagram, and on Twitter, the OG App says it must “Reverse Design” Android APIs. The app also raised privacy concerns about how developers protect users’ account information.
Even so, the app has gained a lot of fans due to its simpler – and ad-free – experience. Instagram has also dealt with a backlash against promoting Stories and recommended content. OG . App speak it achieved over 10,000 downloads before being removed from the App Store “because we listened to them and built what they wanted”.
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