Ghetto Tracker: An App That Identifies “Bad” And “Unsafe” Areas

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Posted 4 years ago

Ghetto Tracker: An App That Identifies “Bad” And “Unsafe” AreasMany apps out there serve no other purpose than to offend people. “Baby Shaker” – an iPhone app that required the user to shake the phone until the baby stopped crying and died – and iPoo – a service that connected you with other people on the toilet at the same time – are two apps in particular that spring to mind. However, neither of those offended as many people in such a short space of time as “Ghetto Tracker”.

Less than 24 hours after its release, Ghetto Tracker had caused enough uproar to require a name change. The app is now known as the more politically correct, Good Part of Town, but everything else about the service is the same – and that most definitely is not good.

The premise of the app is to help people identify safe areas in unfamiliar cities, which are based on ratings from other users. However, as the Huffington Post reports, critics slammed it for being racist and classist for helping the rich to avoid the poor.

At the original launch of the app, Ghetto Tracker featured a front page of a white family of four and the tag line promising to show users “which parts of town are safe and which ones are ghetto, or unsafe.” Since the backlash, though, the smiling family has been replaced by an ethnically diverse family and the word “Ghetto” has been completely removed.

Good Part of Town aims to benefit “students, traveling professionals, people on vacation, anyone moving to a new city, and it can even help people become more familiar with their own city”.

In an email sent to news site Gawker, the app’s team said that it had changed its name in response to emails from people upset by use of the word “Ghetto”. This was after the makers told The Week that: “The only thing that’s satire is the name, and I’d classify it as more tongue-in-cheek. The functionality is very real and serious.”

“I can’t be held responsible for the assumptions people may make in regards to factors like race and income,” the letter to Gawker said. “I’ve seen comments on blogs and in twitter that are trying to say this is encouraging racism or social stratification and that was never our intention.”

At the time of writing, the company’s website had been taken down; however, a message says that the site is being revamped for a return.

– Anthony Carter

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