Want to avoid someone? There’s an app for that!


HIDING OUT: The Split app helps you avoid people by using geo-location information from social media sites. Photo: Tracey Ruff

Social media has made connecting with people really simple and easy but what if you don’t really feel like bumping into your crazy ex the next time you step out?

Responding to the need for people to avoid each other at times, a new mobile phone app called ‘Split’, was released last week. The app makes use of information from social media websites, using geo-location data, to alert the user when someone they are trying to avoid is within their vicinity.

[pullquote align=”right”]”What if I’m in a relationship, but my boyfriend uses it and finds out I’m with my second boyfriend?”[/pullquote]

Udi Dagan, the app’s creator, came up with the idea after a night out ended in an uncomfortable scenario for him. “The idea for Split was born on a frustrating night, about two years ago, when I ran into my ex-girlfriend in a bar,” he told ubergizmo.com. “After a few awkward minutes, I hurriedly gathered my friends out of there and into another pub down the street, where I literally bumped into another ex … not a good night.”

The app, available free for iOS and Android devices, uses geo-location information from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare of the people you want to avoid and alerts you when they are nearby. It also suggests an escape route on a map for you to make your get away, and even notifies you if they are attending the same Facebook events as you.

“I think it’s really cool!” said Lethabo Kutumela, a first-year BComm Accounting student from the University of Johannesburg. “It’s something lots of people would want to have. I’d use it if I had a fight with my boyfriend, or if I was trying to avoid a stalker.”

The app does raise questions about privacy, however, as it provides the location and movements of people without notifying them in any way.

“I never want that app,” said Semkelisiwe Makhoba, a first year Film and Production student at Wits. “It’s too personal; people will know where I am and what I’m doing. It could also get you into trouble. What if I’m in a relationship, but my boyfriend uses it and finds out I’m with my second boyfriend?”

Split is not the first anti-social app to become available. A similar app called Cloak was released a few weeks before Split and offered the same opportunities to avoid people, although it only used information from Foursquare and Instagram.