How weird would it be if you could FaceTime a random stranger?
Well it seems that it’s now possible thanks to new App ‘Monkey’. It’s founders Ben Pasternak (17) and Isaiah Turner (18) have described it as ‘Snapchat’s for your real-life friends. Monkey is for your internet friends.’ Pasternak has claimed the app has made 215,000 users in 5 weeks.
So how’s it work?
Once you register for the Monkey App, you verify your phone number, age, Snapchat name and whether you are male or female – it then asks you to allow access to your contacts. Once this is done, ‘Monkey’ will try to connect you with people from across the world of a similar age.
Once connected both users have to ‘add time’ to continue with the FaceTime, otherwise the chat will disconnect. When FaceTime has been enabled there’s an option onscreen to add the person as a friend on Snapchat.
According to a recent Interview in ‘The New Yorker’ Monkey’s aim is to be ‘Chatroulette without the pervs.’
Monkey App is currently rated as 12+ in the app store and is trending as of today 25/1/2017. It’s also up there in the Top 100 Chart of free apps.
• The ‘random nature’ of FaceTime Chat requests – Yes – its random. For example, when testing the App I accepted a chat request from a guy sitting in a pub drinking beer. Once the chat was accepted it was difficult to end it. It appeared I could only do so by closing out of the app hitting the home button or letting the countdown timer end.
• You don’t actually need to connect your real Snapchat username to start finding people to chat with. I used the word ‘test’ and it allowed me to go right to the discover screen to find people to FaceTime.
• Once you have Monkey set up, it’s very easy to go back in and change your age profile to either younger or older.
• In testing, the App appears to have no user reporting, privacy or safety tools in place where you can block or report anything inappropriate.
• There is no real verification in place. It seems to verify that the Snapchat username is actually that of the account owner on the Monkey App. Though in settings there is an option where you can choose who you would like to speak with – Girls or Guys. If, for example, you wanted to chat with girls only via the app, you need to login to Facebook to verify your gender.
Turner says ‘One of the big problems is that all the apps out right now are built by a bunch of adults’.
‘We are both the creators of the project and the end user which isn’t really the case with things like Snapchat’.
Despite the apps very simple sign up process making it easy to fake your age, Pasternak, maybe naively added ‘I feel like it’s an underground world to adults’ and while Chatroulette was well known for serving up sexual content, neither founders are anxious this will be a problem in their ‘extremely clean community’. Hope their optimism is right.
So while Monkey still needs access to your contact list, it’s been designed by youngsters and looks like the app that will help millennials make friends through common interests.
If you’d like more practical tips on how to protect yourself online and improve your Online Reputation grab a copy of my book..
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