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Apple removes ad-free Instagram client from App Store following complaints from Meta

A week ago, a third-party Instagram client landed on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store after generating hype for about a year. Dubbed "The OG App" and developed by a startup called "Un1feed", it offered an ad-free experience for Instagram users complete with a customizable feed without Reels and touting other privacy benefits. However, it has now been pulled from Apple's storefront following complaints by Meta.

The OG App graphic with iPhone on the left and Banned mark and Meta logo on the right

In a statement to TechCrunch, a Meta spokesperson noted that the app violated its policies and that it is taking all "appropriate enforcement actions". Apple removed The OG app from its App Store too, but it's currently unclear if this is due to an explicit demand made by Meta.

Un1feed expressed disappointment at the move and accused Apple of colluding with Meta. It stated that:

Everyone knows Instagram sucks. We made it better and got a lot of love from users. But Facebook hates its own users so much, it’s willing to crush an alternative that gives them a clean, ad-free Instagram. Apple is colluding with Facebook to bully two teenagers who made Instagram better.

The app's official Twitter account echoed the same thoughts but some social media users were quick to point out that the app is still in clear violation of Instagram's Terms of Use:

Indeed, the app wasn't consuming from Instagram's vanilla public API. The startup had already stated that it had accomplished the ad-free and customizable experience by "reverse-engineering" Instagram's Android API.

Un1feed had initially stated that it will continue its efforts to get the app relisted but this seems very difficult now considering that Meta has disabled access to Facebook and Instagram for all members of the startup. The app continues to be available on the Google Play Store, but it's unlikely that this will remain the case for long.

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