A seemingly wholesome charades-style game available on mobile phones through a Chinese chat service turned scandalous when users who took a slightly more inappropriate approach to playing realized that recorded videos of their activity were being published online.
The game, available for download through Alibaba’s Laiwang chat service, is called “Crazy Dealings” and is similar to the popular “Heads Up!” game available on the iTunes App Store. Essentially, players take turns handing off the phone and trying to guess the word that appears on the screen as other players silently act it out (the old-school version of this game simply requires one to lick a piece of paper with the word on it and stick it to their forehead).
As a bonus feature, the app also records videos of many players’ charades and publishes them to Youku, China’s leading online video site. Many players did not know this. Web users browsing through the videos, however, learned that some people chose to take an alternative approach to the game, in “intimate settings and compromising position,” as the Wall Street Journal reports.
After local media reported about the privacy blunder, the video-sharing function was quickly disabled and the game’s Youku account shut down.
Companies involved said the game didn’t inform users that their activities would be streamed online and apologized in a public statement.
“Per this mistake, we, as the developer and operator of the game, apologize sincerely to affected users,” they said. Unsurprisingly, downloads of the game shot up (heh) after users read the news.