Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Monkey’s Push Notifications

Lester Coleman:

Monkey app is one of the top downloaded and used online video chatting app to make new friends. The app is targeted towards the Gen Z audience and is climbing uphill in terms of concurring and new users.

Monkey app was removed/deleted from Apple App Store recently over child safety complaints. Although the app is available on the Android app store and can be downloaded on Apple devices as well done via direct file download from third party sites, we do not recommend that.


After the app was removed/deleted from the store the company started receiving tons of DMs from Apple users. To respond company released a message on Instagram which read “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⚡️”.

I don’t really understand what the rules are here. Obviously, there are lots of social apps in the store that, like Monkey, have reporting systems that don’t work 100% of the time. Plus, if there’s end-to-end encryption, it’s not even possible for the app to look at the content to police it.

Apps Exposed (via Jeff Johnson):

How to get on #1 Top Charts (Social Networking) after @Apple removes your other app from @AppStore for being used by predators for child p*rnography.


After his successful app called “Monkey” was removed from App Store this guy got to work and made a new one called “Yee - Group Video Chat” which was basically a clone of Monkey. But how could he make it go up on Top Charts so quickly?


A brilliant idea got to him. He send a couple of push notifications (APNs) on a daily basis to his old users on Monkey (mostly kids & predators) by notifying them that if they didn’t download his new app their account would get closed in 24h.

It makes sense to allow push notifications (and other iCloud services) for apps that are no longer for sale, so the installed copies don’t break. I can’t see any reason not to turn them off for apps that are scams, and the like. But it sounds like this was a legit app that just couldn’t control its user-generated content. Perhaps there was no reason to suspect they would be abused.

I wonder whether the call to “enable Monkey notifications” refers to adjusting the Notification Center settings or to opting into marketing notifications within the app.


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