Social Media and Gaming

“Gamers are loners.”, “Gaming is not social.”, “Everything was better in the past.”
In the old days, when kids went to the arcade, they went with friends. These days, kids lock themselves in their rooms alone with their gaming device. That isn’t social, or is it?

Sony and Microsoft don’t agree with these statements. Their latest products, respectively the Playstation 4 and Xbox One, have social media integrated. They blend the online and offline world. For example, when a friend finds a legendary item while playing ‘single player’, the position of this item appears on your single player map too.
While playing a videogame you can also stream your gameplay live. This way your friends can watch you play and via their headsets they can interact with you. There’s even the possibility to aid your friend while using your tablet or phone. (Hunt 2013)

You could say console gamers are finally catching up with PC gamers on the social aspect. Failbetter Games, for example, is pulling people in socially long before Sony and Microsoft did. Failbetter creates unique interactive stories, like Fallen London, “which could be best described as a sort of choose your own adventure story in which you play alongside Facebook and Twitter friends, asking them for help”. (Harper 2013)

Moreover, the crowd-funding website Kickstarter lets both big and small game developers fund their game ideas. This really changes the gaming industry, because fans spread the word themselves via Twitter instead of the developer marketing their games via traditional media. (Harper 2013)

There are countless communities where people spread their love for gaming. People interacting, collaborating and sharing. Building new relationships, maintaining them, even ending some.
It’s like people are all around you, but are they really? Is it the same as having a real person standing next to you, breathing? What is the difference? Do you think people are less social because of these changes in gaming that are supposed to make it more social?

– Hunt, T. (2013) ‘5 Ways Video Game Companies are Leveraging Social Media’. Visited on 4 November 2015 via
– Harper, E. (2013) ‘Insiders Explain How Social Media and Video Games Are Merging’. Visited on 4 November 2015 via


Facebook is watching you

Facebook Messenger

Nowadays almost everyone uses Facebook. You can use it to like photos, upload videos and to chat with people around the world. Now it isn’t possible to chat on you mobile phone through the normal Facebook app anymore. You need to download the Facebook Messenger app to chat with your friends. It turns out, that this is not without any danger.

That Facebook doesn’t care about the privacy of their users is nothing new. The social medium was often seen in the news about their dubious privacy policy, but now Facebook goes a step further with the new Facebook Messenger app. Some examples:

  • The app can edit, receive and read your text messages.
  • The app can read your own contacts.
  • The app can make phone calls without your permission.
  • The app can record sound from the microphone.
  • The app can take photos and videos with the camera.
  • The app can access your call history, including data about incoming and outgoing calls.

It is clear that if you use this app, you do not have any privacy anymore. Facebook comes up with a reaction, saying that they ask for similar permissions that many other messaging systems ask for. They are also saying that there is confusion about the permission requests because Android uses a different language to describe them.

That’s easy to say, but it is still questionable. Many people install the app without looking at the permissions and can now be overheard by Facebook.

The question is, will you continue to use the Facebook Messenger app? I believe Facebook is going too far this time. I removed the app right away.


Microsoft reprimanded by judge

Yesterday, Microsoft got reprimanded by a New York federal Judge. The reason for this is the fact that Microsoft refused to share e-mail data, which is stored in Europe. The government of the USA wants those e-mails for further investigation.

The request for the e-mail data was already approved by a federal Judge in december 2013. Though, Microsoft has been fighting against this request ever since. The government states that “They have the right to request, and investigate, all data of American companies”. This includes the data which is not stored in the USA itself. Microsoft, on the other hand, states that this request is against international laws en treaties, and it’s a direct insult on the privacy of civilians and companies a like.

Microsoft doesn’t stand alone in this lawsuit. American provider Verizon, and several privacy organisations support Microsoft in their defense. Governments outside of the USA also support Microsoft.

The company states that the digital world should have the same rules and laws as the real world. Which would mean that the USA needs evidence and a strong suspicion, before it has the right to request private e-mails.

This example proves that privacy, in- and outside of the digital world, is a huge issue at the moment. The European Union wants to forbid companies to sell private information to third parties, and has also started the conversation with the USA about the privacy of their civilians (right after Snowden showed the world what really happens with our data).


My question to you is as follows: Under what circumstances is it, in your opinion, justified for governments to request and investigate private data like e-mails?


Hackers target President Obama’s social media tools

Its always quite funny to think that even the most respected people in the world, who have the most security, and possibly the biggest fan base worldwide can get their accounts hacked. Recently, president Obama had his social media accounts hacked. surprised? well i was! The political activist hackers of the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) are responsible for the hacks this time, on Obamas social media site. The SEA have posted numerous posts on the President’s Facebook and Twitter accounts directing users to YouTube videos uploaded by SEA, and to the SEA website itself. The hackers also posted an image of a Gmail inbox belonging to an employee of Organising for Action, an official promotional website for President Obama’s various political initiatives.

According to the news article, none of Obama’s accounts were seriously compromised, as they believe the way SEA carried out the hacks was seemingly unprofessional and unsophisticated. Their unsophisticated actions were compared to other high-profile attacks that have happened over the past few years, and are probably not a serious threat to humanity.

It was found that the SEA managed to get hold of the username and password of someone related to the website or account in question, and simply logs in with their credentials, rather than coding a special virus or decrypting critical communications, as most other hackers do.

often, these attacks on high-profile users of social media are highly visible, but they’re not the kind of hackers that will reveal state secrets or undermine the NSA. U.S. cybersecurity types are more worried about what they call “advanced persistent threats” such as state-sponsored hacker groups in China and Iran targeting military operations and critical infrastructure.

Therefore, the hacks done by SEA are not as big a threat than the media make them out to be.

What are your thoughts on hacking in general, and hacking of high-profile users suchs as President Obama?

Facebook tells users they can’t hide from searches

Facebook has announced new changes to its privacy settings that mean users can no longer choose to hide their profile form searches on the site. The “Who can look up your Timeline by name?” setting had previously allowed individuals to stop strangers from finding them in searches, giving them the option to let their profile appear only to friends or friends of friends.



The option to restrict these searches was removed last year but this latest update means that even those who had told Facebook that they did not want to appear in searches will no longer have the ability to do so. Facebook has defended the changes by claiming that only a “small percentage” of people ever used the setting and that the best way to stay private on the site was to restrict who could see “the individual things you share”. These changes to privacy settings have been implemented to increase the reach of Graph Search: a ‘semantic search engine’ that allows users to find based on factors such as location and interests. Facebook has described the new search function as a way to increase the connectivity of the site: “Want to start a book club or find a gym buddy? Connect with friends who like the same activities—and meet new people, too.”


Facebook may start tracking your cursor!

Facebook might soon be able to follow your cursor when you browse at Facebook. Facebook is allready tracking down your likes and comments on every post but this will maybe be the next way to gather data about you and the way you use Facebook. They will use this to see how long you hover your cursor over advertisements and also if you click on it (which allready happened). Facebook thinks this could help Facebook by engaging News Feed layouts and the use of advertisements on Facebook.

When this happens Facebook knows almost everything we are doing on the site and sees every move. This is very attractive to Facebook because they can make a lot of money with it, but what will it do with our privacy? They can allready read (if they want to) every single private message and now they will know what we will see on every moment.

What do you think about this? This also can be positive because we will see advertisements which we maybe like more and are more attractive to us. The privacy on Facebook is getting less and less so what would you like to see on Facebook? Do you want to see Facebook going completely commercial or don’t you?



Share your secret with anonymous social media, Whisper!

Everyone has a secret to tell. But some people find it uncomfortable to share it with anyone else. Whisper is here to help you to share your deepest darkest secret by removing the user’s identity under normal circumstances.

Whisper is the iPhone and Android app where people anonymously post their secrets in the form of text superimposed on a picture. While you can like and comment on whispers, there are no profiles. This means, no one but you can track your activity.

“We’re living in a time when people learn about their friends based only upon what you want them to see,” Whisper CEO Michael Heyward says. “We wanted to create this place where people can share things about themselves from a different lens. Whisper’s the place you can be the captain of the football team, but also really like Glee.”

The awesome thing is that, when you open the app on the phone, you can post and see public messages, but any time you want to see an archive of your own activity, you have to enter a four-digit pin number. So even if your phone were to fall into the wrong hands (i.e. parents), the posts and messages would still be hidden from view.

Whisper currently has more than 4 million users — the average user opens the app eight times each day. In its 2 years history, the app has received 2.8 billion pageviews. Each day, hundreds of thousands of whispers are uploaded each day, which are filtered by a team of 70 full-time moderators located in Manila.

What do you think about this app? Do you want to try to share your secret on this app?