Ninja gave out his number to the internet, but it’s a silly marketing scheme

Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins talking to the camera during Reddit AMA in September 2017

Ninja/YouTube

Always read the Terms of Use

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On Aug. 11, Fortnite streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins gave away his number to fans via Twitter. In a video attached to the tweet, Blevins asked his fans to text him and fill out some information so they could stay in contact. Blevins said he would personally respond to a handful of fans and further promised to group up with some to play Fortnite later in the week.

Blevins is running his outreach program through a company called Community. A brief look at Community’s Terms of Use reveal that becoming best friends with Ninja isn’t exactly what fans are signing up for.

Some obnoxious add copy from Ninja or his team
Polygon
The text back from Ninja

We tested it out, and sent Ninja a quick text. The response is a crafted message (pictured above) asking fans to sign up so they can keep in contact with their favorite streamer.

Image of Community’s sign up page
Polygon
Community’s sign up page

Clicking the link takes you to Ninja’s hub on Community (pictured above). The site asks for your name, gender identity, birthday, city, and has a optional section for your email. If you look a little lower on this page, you’ll find the Terms of Use, which reveal a bit more about what fans are really getting themselves into.

When fans sign up and confirm their new texting pal, they agree to receive automated alerts from Ninja’s public relations team, including marketing materials. Looking a little deeper into the Terms of Use, Community can essentially impersonate the celebrity to the fan.

One section reads: “additionally, you understand that a message sent by a Client may appear to come from a celebrity or other famous individual or influencer but may actually be sent to on his/her behalf by the public relations or other social media representatives.”

The Terms of Use go on to say that the messages aren’t private, but that the interactions are purely intended as promotion or advertising. The phone number is also provided by Community, so you can’t call up Ninja and ask what he’s doing for Thanksgiving.

Community’s Privacy Policy and data collection
Polygon
Community’s Privacy Policy and data collection

Community’s services are also meant to collect data from its users. A quick skim through the Privacy Policy (seen above) reveals that not only is Community collecting the information you give it, it also collects information about your IP address, your browser selection, your device of choice, and your device’s location.

Summed up, those texts won’t always be from Ninja; his team may use it to sell you stuff, and Community can make use of your data.

If you’re a Ninja super-fan, it’s possible this new Community feature could lead to you playing a match with him in Fortnite — Blevin tweeted that he’s been replying to fans with personal videos. But it’s worth knowing what you’re subjecting yourself to before you sign up.

Ashton Kutcher launched a similar service through Community earlier this year.

Source: polygon



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