Data the dog: Twitter turns its privacy policy into an old-fashioned video game | Twitter

On Friday, Elon Musk announced that he was suspending his $45 billion purchase from Twitter because he had only just discovered that some accounts on the site were fake.

But that’s not the strangest thing that has happened to the beleaguered social media platform this week. Because on Tuesday, perhaps in an effort to demonstrate their vision for the site, the current top executives released a Super Nintendo-esque browser game that sums up Twitter’s private policies.

The platform revealed Twitter Data Dash, which plays like a vintage side-scrolling platformer draped with a healthy dose of disinformation fear.

You control a blue-toned puppy named Data and must find five bones hidden in each of the game’s Day-Glo urban environments. (Sonic the hedgehog 2 was the analogy I kept coming back to while playing.) After you complete your goal, the level ends and Twitter blesses you with a distilled conversation piece of its ethical advice. Example: When I collected my first set of bones, a message popped up on the screen telling me to unsubscribe from Twitter’s targeted ads if I wanted to. The second time I was instructed on how to filter my DMs.

game image shows underwater scene with sunken ship and a message that reads 'Data slipped into a sea of ​​DMs!  Catch friendly messages to float back up and avoid messages you don't want.
Photo: Twitter

I get the instincts here. Everyone on the web is conditioned to blindly scroll through every terms of service agreement we come across, so the idea of ​​summarizing some of the finer points in a chibi, interactive browser distraction makes some utilitarian sense. After all, the company just rewritten its privacy policy and could definitely use some positive PR† But some messages in the game are contradictory. In the opening sequence, we’re told that Data wants to avoid all the intrusive “cat ads” in their own way. Sure enough, you’ll encounter a few felines brandishing feline propaganda, which Data must dodge to avoid taking damage. But how does that translate to the actual platform? Does Twitter tell me to scroll through every ad I see on my timeline? Does it recognize that to participate in social media, one has to constantly dodge the algorithm?

“If Twitter were really accurate at this level, you wouldn’t be roaming free in a city, dodging bad guys and collecting bones of somewhat dubious origin,” says tech site Gizmodo. “Instead, the bad guys are inevitable, and not only are they actively piling up on your poor Data pup and crushing his little lungs, but you, the player, have to live with the knowledge that Data will be smothered long after you finish the game.” leave.”

The main problem with Twitter Data Dash is that the game isn’t very fun. The controls are too floaty: right now the jump button is assigned to the up arrow, which is just crazy. If we have to gamify our private policy – if that’s the nightmare we have to go through – then I demand Elden Ring-esque precision. Right now, that’s the least Twitter can do.

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