In case you were holding your breath for a version of Chatroulette for your iPhone, you can relax now; an app that does essentially the same thing as the shady Web service is available in the iTunes App Store. Tinychat, which utilizes Facebook to sign up and log in users, says it is an app that features “video chat made simple and friendly.” Sound familiar?
It looks familiar. Tinychat features chat rooms that other users can watch. Up to 12 other users can join the video chat, too. Users don’t need to be friends on Facebook to watch or join a room, meaning they can watch strangers on cam. Strangers who only have to be 13 to use the service. Creepy? If you have ever heard about the pedophiles and other weird people who trolled Chatroulette, then this app should make you wonder how it ever got approved by Apple in the first place — especially with a warning in the app store from the developers of “”frequent/intense profanity or crude humor; frequent/intense sexual content or nudity; and frequent/intense alcohol, tobacco, or drug use or references” appearing in the app.
Of course, Tinychat has a useful purpose: video chat with Facebook users, for free, on your iPhone. While other free video chat services exist, such as Tango, Tinychat makes it easy to not only talk with, but see, other users. Unfortunately, the structure of Tinychat makes it more suitable for underage girls — and some guys — to become the camgirls of this decade. The app does explicitly ban nudity in its TOS, but a cursory look through the chats in session showed that many users are barely skirting this policy.
If the shaming of Chatroulette in previous years was any indication of what is really appropriate behavior on the Internet now that it has become mainstream (as opposed to the camgirl era of the late ’90s), the Tinychat app not only promotes illegal activity, but is really just creepy.
Would you use an app like Tinychat to video chat with strangers from your iPhone? Let us know in the comments.