Is There An Expectation Of Privacy In Social Games?

Sometimes I just have to shake my head.

Players of Facebook games appear to have had their trust violated by Zynga and some other social gaming providers. It turns out that Facebook has a flaw that allowed these companies to collect personal information on players of games like Farmville. Zynga then allegedly sold this data to a third party market research company which then ‘accidentally’ released that data to other companies. Hmmm.

I recently gave some of the social games on Facebook a bit of a go, but found them very lacking. There were three I tried out, City of Wonders, Farmville, and a space empire 4X style game. Of all three, only the 4X game (can’t remember the name off hand, sorry) kept my interest for any time. Both City of Wonders and Farmville insist on inviting Facebook friends in order to progress. While some players obviously don’t mind that, if your friends don’t respond to game requests (noone responded to my CoW requests… awwww) then there is no way to progress. So not my cup of tea.

Anyway, it now bothers me that since I spent some time playing these games, there is a likelihood that my personally identifiable data is now in the hands of some marketing dude because an unscrupulous company broke the rules. And it’s not just the Facebook users who have lost here. Facebook itself has taken great pains to improve it’s handling of user data. Zynga screwed Facebook over here.

Should Facebook users have an expectation of privacy when playing social games on the Facebook network?

Should Facebook ban Zynga?


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  2. Ysharros


    ….not really. FB’s top dude already said he doesn’t believe in privacy and that people have ONE identity, not two, not three, and five is right out, and that those of us with different personas are just big fat liars.

    It’s a sad day when a reasonable expectation of privacy becomes paranoia. Even sadder when it’s confirmed. I guess I’m a member of the tin-hat brigade now, at least as far as *spit* social media are concerned.

    Ironically, I just sent you a FB friends request. Oh, the humanity! 😉

  3. Stropp (Post author)

    I accepted your friend request!

    I’m not actually sure that I care what Zuckerberg thinks about privacy, and I tend to think that most FB users do either since there have been a number of occasions where the users have spoken out strongly and have changed privacy violating conditions.

    I actually have 2 accounts. One for my ‘real life’ and one for my gaming life. The reason being that I sometimes say things on Stropp’s World that are political and inflammatory and I do not wish that to overlap with my business. (Anonymous speech is a cornerstone of free society, especially political speech.)

    As far as tin hat, I’m not a conspiracy nut, but that doesn’t mean I trust the powers that be. Oh the manitee!

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