It’s been going on all week, and probably won’t stop across the weekend. People are already complaining about the people who are complaining, and that never ends well. Since the whole Facebook Integration thing went live inside Battle.net there’s a lot of home truths out in the open that some might not really have considered would matter when this whole relationship between social media and gaming began. As a result of a discussion yesterday I prompted my mate Joar to go dig out Activision Blizzard’s privacy policy. There’s one line that matters here, more than anything else wrapped up inside the whole relationship:

So, that’s what happens when you allow your Facebook account to access the Battle.net Launcher, in a lovely single sentence. Anybody on your friends list, and the email address you associate with your account. What Facebook do with those, of course… well, some people are already seeing THOUSANDS of potential friends to connect with, whilst others are turning off Real ID for good. It’s a brilliant idea if you’re here to game with as many people as possible, but if Azeroth is the place you go to avoid your Facebook friends and not somewhere you want to be sold to by anyone except ActiBlizz? This has the potential to cause a problem. More importantly for some, if they turn off Real ID to counteract this, they then negate access to the Twitter posting functionality that was introduced in 6.1. You can turn that back on, but what it then means is some fiddling with the Facebook account to ensure that you’re not about to be easily undermined, and as this information is anything but easy to find, you need to rely on the kindness of strangers in order to provide the details.


With grateful thanks to @debaucherie

If you want to make sure you’re covered, you’ll need to go to Facebook itself and alter the Blizzard Entertainment API there. This will then allow you to still use Twitter but not get too stressed over everything else. However, the chances are the damage may already be done in terms of people like me who signed up to start with and now want out. Yes, companies shouldn’t keep your personal details, but I’ve seen enough automated mailing list spam to know that however hard you try, sometimes, you can’t cancel everything. No matter, it’s irretrievable now and I’ll be posting to Twitter on my terms going forward and not via the UI. It’s hardly a stretch, I did it for years anyway. Having left a lot of my life behind and not having a ‘proper’ Facebook account at all, I don’t want hundreds of people I’ve made a conscious decision to walk away from all suddenly in my face. The reason for that, of course, is blissfully simple.

If I want social media in my games, I put it there. Facebook can fuck off with knobs on, and there will never be a day where I’m prepared to entertain this arrangement on anyone except my own terms. Streaming, it appears, would have given me the choices as to who I could share things with and (potentially) who would see things,  and yet even with the reassurances of an increasing number of Mansplainers? Somehow I STILL can’t feel comfortable with the fact this unholy relationship was allowed to go ahead in the first place. I don’t get how business works, or clearly I would be a bajillionaire by now. If I want you to share shit with me, that’s MY choice and not from a third party. Mostly?


Okay, I’m done now. You can carry on.

5 thoughts on “Ugly Heart

  1. This is a really interesting one, as it could really screw people over that are not really clued up with social media privacy settings. I revisited my personal ones on Facebook and Twitter after I had a chat with Alt about the Facebook thing the day it launched. The interesting thing is, I had given apps way more access to my social media API’s than I had realised.

    Anyway this has been rectified now and I am not signing into anything with my social media accounts, and the only things that have access to the API’s are Tweet Deck and my Iphone apps for Twitter and Facebook.

    Going on to a bigger issue regarding privacy, I think Blizzard are very close to breaching the Data Protection Act 1998 with the retention of user data that they do not need. This especially applies to item.2 of the basic requirements which states “Personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes.”

    Now I am in no way saying that Blizzard would use your friends of friends data for marketing purposes, however it is important the data is processed for the correct reasons. This privacy issue relating to social media could be a huge problem going forward, especially if someone successfully wins a claim against a big company for a breach.

    Hold on though, before someone shouts at me. “You are agreeing to the TOS and Privacy Policy when you log into the game so it is your own stupidity if you don’t read it.” Very true but then there is another issue as to, whether a company can still be prosecuted for knowingly circumventing an Act of Parliament by getting the end user to waive certain rights to privacy. Also with the company being US based would the government have the jurisdiction to enforce the act on a non UK company?

    It is a complete legal minefield, never mind the moral and ethical issues relating to it. Thank goodness I am an educator and not a lawyer as trying to pick the legal bones out of this one would go way above my head.

    Is there a lawyer in the house by any chance?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a facebook account, which is not my real name, not using my personal email address, purely for commenting on this blog. Facebook is at the vanguard of making 1984, It couldn’t happen here, A brave new world, and Minority Report all take a very big step towards becoming fact not fiction.

    Social media and the internet should be a beneficial thing, but while someone can make money from Big Data (Big Brother’s half brother with ‘issues’ and a more subtle – yet more sinister – game plan), its going to be exploited in ways that we should all be concerned about.

    And the point about law – the internet is ungovernable while every country has different laws. Leaving gaps for business and lawyers to exploit. I was in a crisis meeting with corporate lawyers about 10 years ago at teh place i worked – a difficult moral and legal question was put to the legal consul that had been hired – his response was what do you want the answer to be and how much money do you have. Trust no one people :)


  3. I absolutely refuse to log into anything with my personal Facebook account, I have a WoW centric account for things like Blizzard Watch. But even that won’t be used for WoW. What I did notice trying to go through the list of suggested people I could add though the desktop app, was a list much much longer than people I knew. These were friends of friend that I had no clue who they were. After about 100 names X’d off I just minimized the window. I am debating deactivating Real ID. I never really use it anyway. Mostly I will not allow Facebook to get any information that I can prevent. I see the advertisements off to the side for things I have search on Amazon on other computers.

    We leave foot prints of our digital identity every where, even setting you browsers to the highest level of privacy is no protection. All we can do is be vigilant in how we manage what does get through.


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