Earlier this week a dice game was doing the rounds on TikTok. This may seem strange, but it was actually disguising free access to a slew of streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+ and Apple TV+.
The app was called Doxcy and basically looked like a very basic dice game.
“A small game to help you make choices quickly. The reason for making this app is that when I face a choice often get stuck a situation , hoping to help people like me,” the App Store description read.
However, if you typed a certain code into its search bar the UI changed. Suddenly, users were met with a gigantic library of free TV shows and movies that they usually have to pay for.
And the app definitely worked. Even new releases such as Black Widow and Space Jam, and the latest episode of Ted Lasso were available and would play.
But of course, there was a catch.
In order to watch anything you had to sit through long and morally questionable ads. Some of these looked like games that the user could interact with, like a sniper game or one involving gems.
And there seemed to be a point to the overtly intrusive ads – profit. Users could apparently remove the ads by paying $7.49 a month or $43.99 a year.
It’s unclear how long the app was actually live for, but a large chunk of the reviews from Google Play were from July. They largely consisted of glowing reviews about how well the app worked. However, many users were also annoyed at the ads.
Links on the App Store pages led to qq.com, a web portal operated by Tencent. An email address for the alleged creator was also available.
However, after being contacted by Gizmodo Australia, both Apple and Google has removed it from their respective app stores. Besides the fact that it is offering illegal access to content, it also violates Apple’s App Store policy that prohibits “hidden, dormant, or undocumented features” in apps.
Neither company has offered comment on the situation.
It’s also not the only app that offers this kind of service. In addition to traditional torrent pirating, there are tons of videos on TikTok and elsewhere on the web that point to websites and apps that host streaming content for ‘free’.
And it’s always a bad idea to download these apps. You don’t know what else could be written into the software and what information about you and your phone they’re collecting.