Published on September 15th, 20140
Be wary of Spreading Secrets on Game of Secrets App
The app is called Game of Secrets and it’s an invaluable tool for anyone looking to cut ties with family and friends while giving up valuable information to a company that doesn’t readily disclose what it’s going to do with it.
From what we can tell from several dozen disparaging customer reviews, the destruction starts with an unsolicited text message from one of your contacts indicating that someone has recently answered a question about you on Game of Secrets.
Click through and you’re taken to the app, which requests access to your contacts without saying exactly how it plans to use that information (more on this to come). Eager to find out who said what about you, let’s say you click “OK.”
But before you can find out, there’s another hurdle, as the app proceeds to ask you to answer some intimate questions about your contacts. Questions like: Would you ever kiss so and so? Would you think this person is boyfriend material? Choose the “not skip” option and then that contact gets the same text you did — that’s what allowing access to your contacts entails.
Nearly all of the customer reviews on iTunes slam the developer, Rocketeer Inc, for creating an app users say is misleading, hurtful, and inappropriate. Some reviewers even claim that the app sent out text messages despite blocking the app’s access to contacts and skipping all the questions.
One reviewer, who said he received several text messages saying people were answering questions about him on Game of Secrets, wrote:
I downloaded the app and you can’t see what people wrote about you until you answered questions. I didn’t want to answer any questions and hurt anyone’s feelings. My friends have had their feelings hurt from it because some people’s answers are very hurtful.
Don’t get this app. I mean, unless of course you are okay with receiving texts from you grandparents asking why you answered a question about how good they look naked. Just saying… This app has spammed most of my contacts and it’s a huge mess to clean up. You will regret it.
And one more:
This app is misleading and offensive in every way. I can’t even understand how it got passed [sic] apple and is allowed to be downloaded through the App Store. The app isn’t all happy and fun as it seems in the description. It’s hurtful and mean, and it destroys friendships.
Apple’s policy would appear to prohibit such an app to be sold in its App Store. According to the company’s review guidelines, “Any App that is defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited, or likely to place the targeted individual or group in harm’s way will be rejected.”
But there’s conflicting information. Apple’s 17-plus app rating, which is where Game of Secrets falls, states that “[a]pps in this category may also contain frequent and intense offensive language.” (And while it’s rated 17-plus, readers tell TINA.org that many middle school students are using this app to send unsolicited texts to fellow students who can’t block them unless they start blocking the texts with their phone carrier number by number.)
So where does Apple draw the line on apps with offensive material if they have a guideline banning it but also a rating regulating it? That’s not clear. TINA.org reached out to Apple for comment about this app and its guidelines but we did not receive a response.
However, a parent whose son received unsolicited text messages from the Game of Secrets app said that an iTunes representative told her that the app has not violated Apple policy and suggested that the parent contact the developer directly.
The other issue is what Rocketeer does with the information it gathers from Game of Secrets. We looked online and even installed the app but couldn’t find a terms and conditions policy for using the program, or details on what becomes of the information they have about you once you sign up. If Game of Secrets is anything like Whisper, another secret sharing app, users may want to take note of Forbes’ article on three reasons to be wary.
The takeaway here is to think twice about apps that ask to access your contacts. They may have some secrets of their own.