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The Most Used Words Facebook Game is Testing the Limits of Personal Data Access

In the past few weeks, you might have encountered a Facebook game which generates a cloud of all the words you use the most in Facebook updates. It's interesting, in a kind of 'I have nothing better to do' kind of way, but those of you who are bored/interested enough to give this a look might want to exercise caution.

Like most other Facebook games and quizzes, the app will ask you for access to your personal data. The part that people usually home in on here is the message assuring that it won't post information to your profile without your permission, essentially a promise that your Facebook profile won't mutate into a spam-spewing mouthpiece. Beyond that, the assumption tends to be that they only need data access to actually create the cloud or whatever else, but the truth of it, at least in this case, is more unsettling.

You would think that the app would only need to see your posting history to create the word cloud, but it asks for access to literally everything, everything you've ever liked, commented on or in any other way interacted with. Why, you ask? Well, to sell it, of course. As well as storing all the information mined from your profile indefinitely (even if you delete your account), the developers also make clear that they reserve the right to sell that information to anyone, at any time, without even needing to notify you.

They haven't sold any of the information yet, but the very fact that they actually made that a clause is extremely disconcerting. The problem is, for all the promises the parent company (Vonvon) might make about what they do with your data when they have it, none of them apply to anyone else, so if they ever did elect to sell your data on, there's no telling what might end up happening to it. The one saving grace of this is that now that Vonvon have been caught with their hand in the info-cookie jar, others are going to come under a great deal more scrutiny and new lines may end up being drawn where privacy policy is concerned.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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The Most Used Words Facebook Game is Testing the Limits of Personal Data Access Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, November 30, 2015 Rating: 5

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