Twitter Inc. is being sued over a game that critics say violates people’s privacy just as badly as a controversial version that was pulled off the market earlier this year.
At issue is Hey Inc.’s app “Famous: The Celebrity Twitter”, a follow-up to “Stolen!,” the original version that let players “buy” someone’s Twitter profile in exchange for virtual credits.
Twitter users could have their profiles bought and sold without their permission—or even knowledge. The game sparked immediate criticism and concerns about the potential for harassment.
“While I appreciate that this application was not developed as a tool for Internet harassment, it will be used as one if it continues to receive access to profiles of individuals who have not agreed to participate,” wrote U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) in a letter to Twitter.
Hey has changed the concept of the game from “owning” other Twitter users to “investing” in them. But Alabama resident Jason Parker says the mobile application company simply “masked the language used in the App to avoid controversy.” Regardless of its language, Hey is displaying the full names and photographs of tens of thousands of Twitter users without their consent on its app, Parker alleged on behalf of himself and other state residents in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
And Twitter is enabling the wrongful conduct by letting Hey access and import the profile data of its users, even though the majority of people featured in the game didn’t know about or agree to the use of their names and photos, Parker said.
Specifically, Parker is alleging violations of Alabama’s right of publicity law, which prohibits the use of a person's name, image or likeness for commercial gain without his or her consent. He wants the court to order Twitter to stop disclosing users’ profile information to Hey.
Parker said Twitter has the ability to stop Hey from accessing its user profile data but has refused to do so. Hey couldn’t commit this violation without the help of the social networking site, he said.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)