A tricky way to get your information

Have you seen this Bingo Card “Game” going around Facebook? I know a whole lot of my friends are playing and sharing the results. Here’s one called a Couple’s Bucket List.


Here’s another version asking about life experiences.


And these movie Bingo cards.



If you’ve downloaded on your phone, you might also receive card suggestions in Messenger.


The thing is, this isn’t a game. It’s actually one of the cleverest ways I’ve ever seen of getting folks to take surveys designed to tell advertisers what ads to target you with on Facebook and everywhere else online. By finding out what you’ve done, what movies you’ve watched, and who your favorite celebrities are, the developers can sell that information to advertisers who’ll know what types of products and experiences you’re interested in. It’s not a scam and I’m not saying there is any malicious intent involved. Free games and quizzes like this always deal in information. That’s the price you pay. to use them. Let’s take a look at the permissions you grant this app when you decide to play this Bingo game.

We’ll start by opening Facebook, clicking the down arrow at the top-right and choosing settings.


In the pane on the left, scroll down to Apps and Websites and select Instant Games.


Find Bingo and click on View and Edit.


If you scroll down the list of permissions, you’ll see that Bingo Game can use your information to personalize your experience. That’s a roundabout way of saying it’s how they decide which ads to show you.


If you click down into their Privacy Policy, you eventually get to this:

Information collected from Third-party when placing Advertisement

5.1. Our Games may include advertising for third party products and services. Unless you opt-out of interest-based advertising, we and our advertising partners (collectively “ Third-party Ad Providers”) will use tracking technologies such as browser cookies, pixel-tags or web beacons to collect information about you to improve advertising, targeting and measurement systems so that we can show you relevant third-party ads in our Games.

5.2. The following information may be collected by Third-party Ad Providers or shared with Third-party Ad Providers by us:

Performance data (such as number of pageviews and impressions)
Aggregated and/or de-identified information about you and other players collectively that is not intended to specifically identify you.
Certain technical information including IP addresses, non-persistent device identifiers such as IDFAs, and de-identified persistent device identifiers such as a hashed Android ID
Your social network ID and other contextual data about your game play such as your level
5.3. The information collected may be used to: measure how effective ads are, to offer you targeted advertising in order to personalize your experience by showing you advertisements for products and services that are more likely to appeal to you (a practice known as behavioral advertising), and/or
undertake web analytics (like Google Analytics which is used to analyze traffic and other player activity to improve your experience)

Again, I’m not saying this is shady or illegal or that they have any bad intentions other than showing you a few ads. But I do think that if you’re really just taking an advertising survey you should be aware of it. Lots of games collect that type of information, but usually they give you an actual game to play in exchange. This is straight-up turning a survey into something you’re thoughtfully sharing for them.

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