editorials

App Misuse: When Should You Care

by Jamal on May 13, 2019

Build fast and often! That’s the status quo mantra leading the tech industry. We build products and features with the best of intentions for our end users, and specific use cases in mind. Unfortunately, though, anything built has the potential for misuse. Should that be an early concern when building out a product though? Let’s discuss!

Misuse Today

To get a perfect example of misuse in an app, we don’t have to go farther than YouTube. Beginning of this year YouTube had a shocking misuse of its platform be unearthed. This being their comments section used as a means to traffic underage porn. As an avid YouTube user and scroller of comments, this completely hit me out of the left field and thought it was another internet prank. Come to find out…… it was true!

Now we’re all sure that YouTube is taking every opportunity to correct the issue and ensure it doesn’t happen anymore. It’s also safe to assume that when building out their comment section, child pornography trafficking could in no way have been thought of. I mean seriously, why???

So blaming them for not realizing this was happening sooner honestly isn’t fair. People always find a way to use something in a way they shouldn’t when they’re dedicated to it. So in no way should the dark and creepy minds of others impede progress.

When To Care

Ok, so we established that misuse should not be a reason to stop progress. However, when it blows up in your face you gotta act fast! However, this does leave us with a question. When should the preventative methods begin to take shape?

Its fair to say that in the early days of the internet, building out its infrastructure of what could possibly be, there wasn’t enough time to worry. Today is a different day though.

It’s fair to say that in the early days of the internet, building out its infrastructure of what could possibly be, there wasn’t enough time to worry. Today is a different day though. We all are well aware of all the different ways people can misuse the apps we build, so it’s only right that we start to think of it early on. I mean platforms as big as YouTube can survive easily because of how much they’ve intertwined with our daily lives. A new one though, probably not so much.

So in short, it’s always in your best interest to care about the possibility to a degree when sculpting out your idea. Then of course, as a responsible and morally strong person, you weigh the positive uses against the negatives to see if the idea is still worth building. Simple as that!