By Laura Woodward
This Halloween, clowns won’t be getting too many laughs. “Creepy clowns” have been spotted and arrested across North America. Clowns aren’t so funny when there’s the possibility of a scary one being in your neighbourhood, or under your bed.
To avoid scares, three Montreal students created the Clown Spotter app. The app crowdsources creepy clowns’ locations. A user simply double taps the giant clown face on the app, if they see a creepy clown. Other users can then see flags of where clowns have been detected, in relation to their individual locations. The app is available for free on Android and iOS.
The first of this string of creepy clown sighting was in August when a clown was found trying to lure children into the woods. Since August, people have reported being chased by scary clowns and seeing them trespass at elementary schools.
The creepy clown craze has lead Canadian Tire to completely strip its clown decor and costumes from shelves. An entire Twitter page, with nearly 90,000 followers, is dedicated to sharing horrific clown sightings.
As a user of this app, and a person who does not like Ronald McDonald, I have great concerns regarding the Clown Spotter app. While its purpose is noble, its design has flaws. There is no proof required to flag a spotting. Anyone can tap that giant clown face claiming they have seen a creepy clown, with no real evidence. This means creepy clowns could use the app to ambush kids like me. What if Ronald McDonald and all his clown pals are “spotting clowns” in Leslieville, so people find shelter in Cabbagetown where the real clowns are? Just sayin’.