The debate as to whether location-based apps are creepy took a new turn Monday, when Newspepper.com founder Hermione Way asserted that women have been raped as a result of location-based apps “like Facebook and Banjo,” and Banjo CEO Damien Patton responded that “more people have been harmed by the Catholic Church” than the popular social networks.
“Those were just baseless accusation against location apps in general,” Patton said.
The two clashed Monday on a panel discussing privacy at Monday’s Social Loco conference, where Way opened by saying she has chosen to live her life online and give up assumptions of digital privacy, but that not everyone is completely aware of the consequences of such a lifestyle. The panel prompted strong responses from audience members on Twitter throughout the event.
Way accused apps like Banjo and Facebook of being responsible for assaults on women, referencing the recent news of sexual assaults in connection with a social app called Skout. She said she’s worried about the impact of a constantly-sharing society as young children grow up with websites like Facebook without understanding the implications of their sharing.
Afterwards, Way said she “might have exaggerated a little,” about the safety risks posed by social networks, but that she feels strongly that users should share their data carefully and consider their own privacy before sharing online.
Patton sharply denied Way’s comments, saying that Banjo works hard to protect user privacy. He noted that Way could not specifically cite the instance when social apps caused individuals harm, and said the positive aspects of social apps like Facebook are generally a positive development for people, even if there are unfortunate instances of abuse by some users:
“Any good in the world has opposing force,” he said. “She was trying to make it sound like it’s out of control.”