If you’ve ever wanted to own a celebrity’s Twitter account, you now can, at least virtually. A new iOS game called Stolen from Hey Inc allows users to virtually buy and collect Twitter accounts from other users like one would collect trading cards.
Users begin the game with a small amount of free currency, and can earn more by playing the game. Users can also purchase additional currency outright with real money.
In Stolen, users can purchase Twitter accounts even if they don’t know the people whose ‘accounts’ they’re buying, and even if those users don’t play the game. This design is making waves among users, with some being uncomfortable with the idea of their Twitter profile being purchased by strangers.
It’s worth pointing out, purchasing an account card in Stolen does not give the buyer access to the actual account. Instead, the card is just added to their collection within the game.
However, when users own a Twitter account on Stolen, they can update its in-game username with a ‘nickname,’ which, as explained by Gadgette, can lead to less than flattering content being associated with an account in the app.
In an interview with Gadgette, Siqi Chen, CEO of Hey Inc, commented on the game’s nickname feature:
I do see [the nickname feature] being open to abuse, and that is yet another reason why we are not launching and we are beta invite only. But, I mean, the concept of this, is this is a thing that was not designed for this level of traffic. It was not designed for this many people looking at it. It was designed for 1,000 people where we had relatively close ties with them and we could monitor it. So yeah, the nicknames thing is absolutely open to abuse right now, and what we’re working on right now is you should be able to clear your nickname.
If there is an offensive nickname, you should be able to report that, and unlike Twitter, we will ban you. I know exactly what you’re talking about. I follow that very intimately, and I am absolutely sympathetic to all of that, and we are not going to be a platform where people like [famous troll] or whatever gets to just harass and put offensive names on women. The minute they do that, once we have the tooling in place, they are gone. That is not okay. That’s just not part of how we want people to use the product.
Hey Inc has introduced a way to opt-out of the game, so one’s Twitter account can’t be bought or sold. However, in order to opt-out, users need to connect their account to the game to prove they own the account they’re trying to remove.