Amid the outrage over that United incident, a familiar scenario is playing out in in the App Store.
Not satisfied with 1-star Yelp reviews, a flood of glorious memes, and actual IRL protests, furious people are also taking their rage to the App Store, where hundreds of users are completely trashing United’s app. It currently has a one-star rating.
In total, at least 864 people have left negative App Store reviews in the last three days, according to data from app analytics firm Sensor Tower.
And the reviews are, predictably, brutal.
“Drag and drop is now supported,” reads one review simply titled “new feature.” “If you have no problems being physically assaulted at any time, this is the app for you,” begins another. “This is the airplane for you if you love getting beaten to a pup [sic] for no good reason,” one user writes.
This phenomenon, which Sensor Tower calls “apptivism,” is nothing new. Pissed off users frequently take to the App Store to express disgust with a company, whether or not it has anything to do with its app.
When Facebook started forcing people to use Messenger, the move earned the app a one-star rating even though it had reached the number one spot in the App Store. More recently, Uber critics began panning its app after a former engineer published her account of rampant sexism and harassment at the company.
But the fact remains that trashing an app because you hate the company is pretty much guaranteed to accomplish nothing.
While smaller startups and indie developers may rely on positive App Store ratings for continued success, they likely mean very little to a company the size of United. Furthermore, early data suggests that while United’s app may be tanking in ratings, it has had little to no effect on downloads.
That’s likely because the app is a very real necessity to the thousands of people who, at least for now, are still flying on the airline every single day.
Again, look to Facebook Messenger, the app everyone still loves to hate. Its once terrible reviews have long since stabilized and no matter how begrudgingly you use it, chances are pretty damn high that you are, in fact, using it.
So by all means, continue laying the App Store hate on thick — they’ve certainly earned it — just don’t think it’s going to accomplish anything.