I Played Twitter’s Privacy Browser Game So You Don’t Have To

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Twitter made its first foray into the exciting world of game development with the release of a jolly little game called Twitter Data Dash, a 2D platformer that seeks to explain the social media giant’s arcane privacy policy from a so-called easily digestible way. I say “supposedly” because the game itself can be extremely frustrating to experience. And contrary to its express purpose, it also doesn’t really help you better understand the platform’s privacy policies.

But I commend Twitter for one thing: trying to make what was once an impenetrable wall of text a little easier for the layman to understand. As we all know, privacy policy used to be a bunch of words that only the most hardened privacy advocates could skim through; most of us just click “ok” with our eyes glazed over, so we can get on with the fun stuff, which is tweeting about what we have for lunch, pictures of our pets and our collective contempt for Elon Musk. To that end, Twitter had simplified all the legalese on its privacy policy page (which you can see here, if you wish), and created the Twitter game Data Dash to go with it.

GAME VIDEO OF THE DAY

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On paper, that sounds like a great idea, but Twitter Data Dash just doesn’t seem like the best vehicle to deliver that message. The game features a cute little blue puppy named Data, and you’ll have to travel Data through the land of PrivaCity, a place so cluttered with obstacles and floating bricks that it’s impossible for anyone to live in this space. Along with fighting your way through the game’s four levels, you’ll also need to collect bones and avoid baddies, like cat commercials, and other things that will cause your dog to drop your bones (okay, not really – your bone meter will just dip). When you complete the level, Twitter will let you know how its privacy policy works in a single paragraph, alongside a button that will change your Twitter settings. Then take it to the next level: rinse and repeat.


But Twitter Data Dash is unbearably buggy and incredibly unplayable. I tried playing the game on my computer, only to end up being blocked multiple times – an experience that ironically parallels my experience on the social media platform itself. Playing it on my cell phone makes the game a little smoother – yes, I’m very dedicated to my job – but there are still some invisible walls to smash into, holes in the floor that will take more than a few taps of the jump button to get out and massive walls that are impossible to climb. Then there’s Data’s jump ability, which is rather jerky, uneven, and horrible to use. I finally gave up and went straight to the fourth level of the main menu, which is surprisingly finishable – all the way to the game’s final boss stage (can’t believe there’s a boss stage). Turns out it was a huge troll throwing server icons at me.


This boss fight is an exercise in frustration. These servers were running too quickly for me to dodge, and I had no idea how to end the boss fight for a good few minutes. It wasn’t until I accidentally bumped into the troll’s head that I realized they looked like they were wincing in pain, which gave me a clue on how to complete that damn level. And after completing the level, I was able to share my score for bragging rights, on Twitter, of course. Watch it, please:

I guess the point is that if the trolls are harassing you, Twitter suggests you can just bounce on their head and hope for the best – a strategy that I would say is somewhat lacking. I certainly didn’t read the last paragraph of the text after the boss stage. That said, whatever message Twitter is trying to convey to me is mostly lost in the rising bile of rage surfacing in my throat. Play Twitter Data Dash if you’re bored to death or have a masochistic streak, but if you really want to know more about the site’s privacy policy, you better read their recently revamped privacy page.


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