Reddit user asks if Niantic is selling ‘Pokemon GO’ user data to advertisers
It is not known whether Niantic sells user data to advertisers but sponsors do pay the game-maker to set up PokeStops.
If latest rumors are to be believed, all “Pokemon GO [VIDEO]” data is being sold to advertisers. Recently a Reddit thread shot up to the top of the game’s forum. It asked a question that has got many players thinking. Reddit user “publikwerks” asked whether Niantic is selling game data to advertisers? If that is the case, then the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act could come into play.
Where does the data go?
It is a known fact that “Pokemon GO” can track its users no matter where they are, where they are heading to and how long they are at any place. The game uses a player’s location settings to beam game-related content to him/her.
Otherwise, how would the game know when a player is at a PokeStop or a Gym?
Trainers have raised a concern regarding this collection of data by Niantic. This is because no one really knows where the data goes. The game-makers simply state that data is collected to improve the overall gaming experience, and also to personalize services. They never mention whether the data is sold to advertisers or not.
Reddit user questions Niantic’s data collection
Niantic reportedly collects certain information from the mobile devices of players or their authorized children when they use its services. This could be user settings, the device identifier, or the operating system of the device being used to play "Pokemon GO." Information is also collected on the use of such services.
The Reddit user got thinking why kids younger than 13 years cannot interact or see a sponsor’s PokeStops or Gyms.
The question struck him while the user was driving around with his kid to collect PokeStops. None of the PokeStops were visible. One possible reason could be the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act coming into play.
A very pertinent question raised
This means there is a possibility that Niantic is selling user data to advertisers. The user asked if anyone has any information on the matter. The responses ranged from curiosity to outrage, to denial. Many were in favor of Niantic, stating that other top e-commerce platforms also do the same thing. Some even went on to say that it is time to stop bashing Niantic for everything it does.
The main reason behind the concern regarding data collection is that no one knows who the data is sold to. Marketers can use information on the age of players, when and where they go, etc. for more targeted business strategies. According to an earlier report by Heavy, it is a known fact that sponsors pay Niantic to set up PokeStops at places where the foot traffic is at a maximum.
However, it looks like Niantic [VIDEO] is using player data to make business deals. It is not really selling data per se. At this stage, all this is mere speculation, though a valid point has been raised.