If you have not heard about the Monkey app, there is a great possibility your teenager has.
The Monkey app is a teen video-chat app for iPhone and iPad that connects users and like-minded individuals worldwide for 10-second video chats by using their Snapchat usernames.
Monkey co-founder Isaiah Turner said, “I think people, adults especially, there’s a real disconnect realizing Internet friends are just as important to teens as real world friends.”
According to analytics firm App Annie, that may be one reason why the app has taken off among the younger set: In April, it was the top iOS app downloaded.
The app was intended to be an updated version of the random video-chat site Chatroulette for today’s teens without sexually explicit content.
What Happened to Monkey App?
According to a Washington Post investigation, more than 1,500 complaints of unwanted sexual approaches, many targeting children, have been made against popular social networking apps in Apple’s App Store, contrary to what Apple prominently says as a “safe and trusted place,” according to a Washington Post investigation.
The Monkey app is still around, and you can see and download it on Google Play. However, it appears like the Apple store has taken it down unless you downloaded it before there’s a way you can still access it.
Using a machine-learning algorithm to classify App Store reviews holding complaints of unwanted sexual content, racism, and bullying, The Post sifted through more than 130,000 reviews of six random chat apps, all but one of which were ranked in the top 100 for social networking by Apple earlier this month. The Post manually inspected the more than 1,500 reviews that made mention of uncomfortable sexual situations.
Apple, which says on its website it “carefully [reviews] every app,” has long differentiated itself from competitors that exercise less control. But the prevalence of unwanted sexual content involving minors raises questions about whether Apple can continue to offer a protective cocoon to its customers as its platform develops. In a more prominent forum, Apple has a financial interest: It earns a cut of all revenue generated by apps.
Apple says it reviews 100,000 apps a week using a mix of software and humans. “We created the App Store to be a safe and trusted place for our customers to get apps and we take all reports of inappropriate or illegal contact extremely seriously,” Apple spokesman Fred Sainz said in a statement. “If the purpose of these apps is not inappropriate, we want to give developers a chance to ensure they are properly complying with the rules, but we don’t hesitate to remove them from the App Store if they don’t.“
How the Monkey App Started?
According to the mobile app analytics company App Annie, the Monkey app has been downloaded almost three million times since it launched in November 2016 and has averaged 300,000 monthly active users during Q2 of 2017. Monkey claims its actual usage is much higher in the millions.
It’s particularly popular among teens and young adults. According to App Annie, Monkey was the number-one app downloaded by 13-to-24 year-olds in April and has remained in the top 10 ever since. Currently, it’s the ninth most popular app among that age group. The average user is 23, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower, and it’s pretty evenly split between female and male users — 48 to 52 percent. Monkey declares that the average age of its users is only 17.
Monkey is the brainchild of Turner and co-founder Ben Pasternak. The two met years ago as most kids these days do: on the Internet. They finally coincided in person at Apple’s app developer conference, WWDC, in 2015. Soon after, Pasternak was calling Turner with the idea for Monkey to create a community of teens where they could meet people or find others with shared interests.
“Chatroulette wasn’t a very inspiring place,” said Turner. “We didn’t want to create anything like that. They had a terrible community. You didn’t meet people you had a lot of in common with.“
Turner and Pasternak are not just your average teens with an idea.
When he was 15, Pasternak received a round of venture capital from Binary Capital for a social app known as Flogg.
When Turner received the call for Monkey, he was working at Washington DC-personalized retail offer startup PreciseTarget, doing back-end and front-end development. He was 17.
Turner’s love for coding started when he was 11, he claims. By 12, he was hacking his friends’ TV cable boxes to remove any parental blocks.
“I started reverse-engineering how it worked,” he said. “Whenever they [parents] would put parental controls, I would turn off in a few hours.“
His most famous hack to date was when he found a security flaw in Yo, the viral app that let you send a simple message, “Yo,” to your friends. He succeeded in getting a push notification that said “#YoBeenHacked” to its users. As a consequence, Yo developer Or Arbel hired Turner. He dropped out of high school at 15 to take the opportunity. “My parents didn’t help me to drop out, but once it finally happened they supported my decision,” Turner revealed. “If I hadn’t done it I wouldn’t have started Monkey, and Monkey is one of the best things that happened.“
How They Tried to Prevent App from Inappropriate Content?
To avoid the issues with its predecessor, Monkey employees, who average 18, built AI to identify inappropriate content, Turner says. There are also tools to report people. Once reported, the AI scans the chat, according to Turner. If it detects any explicit content, the user is banned automatically.
“Our biggest focus when we built it from day one we wanted to create a community without inappropriate content,” Turner said. “To do that, we had to create neural network machine learning capable of within seconds finding anything inappropriate.“
In addition, users are required to submit their age before they use the app, but there’s no way to verify that you are how old you say you are either. Turner points out that no other social network can verify age either.
But some users are slipping through the cracks. Turner says the company is working on it.
“Interestingly, it’s not teenagers who tend to perpetuate explicit behavior; it’s adults,” he said. “Teenagers are using the space for its intent: connection to internet friends.“
He also noted that other apps dealt with the same issues but could prevent inappropriate content as they matured.
“In the early days of Snapchat, people tended to use it to send nudes,” Turner remarked. “Over time it became what it is today, a place for self expression.“
The Monkey App Announcement on Instagram
In response to DMs asking where the app went, the Monkey Instagram account acknowledged on April 20, stating, “We know the quarantine has you stuck at home and bored beyond belief. We’re about to announce some exciting news that’ll help keep you socially connected and entertained during these uncertain times. Enable Monkey notifications to be the first to find out.“
So, if you are looking to download the Monkey app, you still technically can. But do so at your peril since it seems like the app’s algorithm has not caught up to a large number of predators still using it.
Best Monkey App Alternatives or Options
Since the monkey app starts getting negative reviews and its popularity is declining, several social networking apps similar to the monkey app are safe to use.
Chatroulette is another social media app similar to the Monkey app that lets its users connect using the webcams and microphones featured in it. It is one of the most liked and widely used video calling apps that allows its users to talk to strangers using this app on their devices aimlessly. This video chatting app helps the client and users easily talk with strangers from all over the world.
If you do not like somebody over here, you can break contact with that particular person. Without putting in any effort, the users can manage all the stuff with simple taps. Many people are using this app for their own purposes of fun and excitement. It has connected people from different cities as well as various countries. You can easily connect with the single and committed individuals on this app and share your feelings and thoughts using your camera.
MeowChat is a complete package of joy and happiness. It is a fun place to meet new people from all around the world and chat with them easily. It is a place where thousands of people meet and exchange their thoughts to make a bond of friendship between them. This chatting app contains a considerable society of people who visit and settle on this platform to make some astonishing discoveries of some captivating people.
It allows you to find some amazing buddies from all over the world and chat instantly with the strangers right on the platform installed on your device. MeowChat also enables you to discover people around you and from the entire world, and you can easily approach them with simple swipes.
It permits you to chat and play with your friends in a private chat room. MeowChat deals with proper safety and protection features from others by making you chat privately with any of your friends. You can comfortably share your stuff, inner feelings, taste, and many other aspects.
Omeglit.com gives a safe place to meet new individuals around you and from all across the world in a brief manner. It is a worldwide used dating app that enables you to contact lots of interesting people and start a conversation with them. It has some intensified features that permit its users to talk freely and rightly in a secured scenario.
This app is occupied with an abundance of exciting people, and you can effortlessly contact them and start a conversation anytime, according to your convenience. It ensures that you stay safe and chat securely. It showcases a great way to connect with people around you.
There are more interesting facts about this app that helps you confront something great. You can choose anyone to share your thoughts with and randomly pick to start a meaningful and meaningless conversation without any hesitation.
4. Fav Talk
Fav Talk is an app that lets you create contact with a considerable number of community members who have the same interest as yours. With the support of this app, you can increase the span of your dearest people and exchange your ideas and thinking with them. This app allows you to chat with them anytime you want simply. You can also find a match with people having the same view of thinking.
It allows you to choose people according to start a conversation and talk with them. You can also get more info about the people and their interests for better knowledge. It provides relatively user-friendly settings so that you can easily change the settings as per your choice and provides some special commands. You can even manage settings to allow or disallow people who are searching for you.
It delivers an immensely varied and unique feature of adding people as whenever they find you; they will automatically be added to your chat list. Thus Fav Talk has made it easier enough to chat with people having similar interests.
Azar is another interesting social networking application that helps its users to communicate with millions of strangers across the globe. It is a platform for coming across and connecting with real and existing people only. No tricksters and fictitious systems are not involved in this app, as the registration process of Azar enables only existing people to become a unit of its chatting family.
The app offers random video chatting with unknown ones. As you proceed, you will be the first mandatories to create an account of yours, and after that, you can get the authority to discover and make connections with thousands of new people worldwide with just a swipe of the finger.
The updated Azar’s Region Preference and Instant Voice and Text Translator system ensure that no hurdles are arisen while talking with other people so that everything goes smoothly.
The Monkey app became an instant hit because it allowed users to meet new people online, chat with them, and share entertaining stuff. Due to some users’ sick-mindedness, it is declining in its popularity. But it does not end your way to meet new people and make friends. There are many alternatives you can use instead of the Monkey app, which are safe and simple to use.