Part of the interactive marketing for the upcoming video game “Watch Dogs” is a Facebook campaign called “Digital Shadow,” which inadvertently gives users a frightening look at just how much the dominant social media platform knows about them.
“Watch Dogs,” made by Ubisoft, takes place in a fictional hyper-connected version of Chicago where big data and knowledge on everything and everyone are power. Digital Shadow appeals to that vein by compiling an in-depth file on a user as if they were a target for assassination — the scary part is, the data are real.
After granting permission, Digital Shadow shows users a collection of their Facebook photos and begins to break down which of their friend connections they interact with the most, the least, which interact with them in return, and “which friends they’ve been stalking that haven’t been stalking them back,” according to the Huffington Post.
Digital Shadow also tells users when they’re on social media the most and where in reality they’re most likely to be found. It makes a salary prediction based on job title and education, and compiles a list of passwords that could be used to hack their accounts.
The file even goes on to make psychological, personality type profile assessments and guess at personality flaws that could potentially be exploited.
Digital Shadow is, thankfully, at the mercy of users’ privacy settings – the stricter you have them set and have maintained them in the past, the less information it will have when trying to create a not-so fictional dossier.
Though designed purely as a marketing campaign for a video game focused on hacking and taking advantage of the digital aspect of a person’s life to influence it in the real world, Digital Shadow may motivate some users to reassess the amount of data they divulge on social media to protect it from the real watch dogs.
“Watch Dogs” comes out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U and PC on May 27.