Continuing in my annoyance with and dislike of certain aspects of Facebook gaming (as previously seen in these three posts), a recent case study shows that 24% of social gamers have insecure friending habits.
As I’ve said, the design of many games is to have as many friends as possible. Lately, I’ve been playing Zombie Wars. Decent game, I enjoy it, but I’m stuck. I need 20 people in my colony to move to the next area. I have 13. I have sent invites to most, if not all, of my 149 friends, but can’t get another 7 of them to start playing. The game is dead to me. I could, however, go to the Zombie Wars fan page and find people who also need more colony members and friend them in order to get moving.
This is where the insecurity comes in. By default in Facebook, a “friend” has access to everything on your profile, unless you’ve specifically gone in and denied access to a particular piece of info. You can restrict someone’s access by making a group, denying access to that group, and then adding that person to the group. This is cumbersome and not obvious. And if you engage in adding people for the sole purpose of progressing in a game, you are likely to accept a friendship of someone saying, “Hey! Add me for Zombie Wars!” even though you don’t know them. Those people might not even be real. They could be a phishing profile, looking to get at your personal data that is hidden behind the “friend barrier” and if you let them in without restriction they’ll get it.
I hope the way Facebook games work evolves. In the meantime, I hope people start to pay attention to how they use Facebook, because they could be risking more than they know.