Stark contrast

There is an old ‘expression’, The people will rally against the injustice of children, yet for the most, only if it hurts THEIR children. It is a saying that most people ignore because there is a string of pain, the realisation that the need of ‘me’ overrules the need for all. And guess what, Apple joined those ranks a while ago. We see BBC News headlines (last year) like “Ricky Gervais slams Apple over Chinese factories” and we laugh, but the pain is a lot more real than you think. There is an ignored side and there Apple does not seem to give an ‘eff’ (as long as the revenue comes in. It is there advertisement section, the one that is ‘hidden’ in games. Games that give an advertisement and that is OK, but then they take you STRAIGHT to the installation page. Where did we sign up for that? And this is not some innocent ‘barbie game’ this is how pokie and gambling sites assault the weary and the vulnerable. They take the game and the problem to a whole new level. You see, the ad is not the real issue. The issue becomes when you want to close the window and the super-small ‘X’ that closes the window is in the top left corner, and if you miss it, the excuse will be ‘We assumed you wanted the program’, but the close icon is small enough to miss it way too often.

So not only is Apple setting a stage, they are doing this in the setting of “We do not want any issues in the schools where OUR children go, we do not care about the rest” it is a stage that is speculative, but consider the impact. How many children get exposed to that part? And they are not alone, there is more and more out there coming to all of us regarding a ‘game’ named coin master. Even if it has an ad with Joan Collins. In Change dot org (and a few other places) we see messages like “I have been playing coin master for about 8 months and saved up all my coins and spins and spent a fortune on the game then one day i open up my game and the 117billion coins i had and 22,000 spins are gone , i had been reset , apparently coin master are reseting accounts with high savings which is against their own rules because they cannot tell the difference between people who play honest and the cheaters”, now this is a setting of accusation that require data and evidence and I do not have any myself. But coin master is important as it is not only vying for your cash (which is fair enough). It is combining with the ‘sentiment and acceptance’ of pokies, but what we see is not a pokie, it is a game that looks like a pokie and there we see a problem. The makers were decently brilliant, but there is a new stage, “what looks like one” is not the same as one actually is and the makers are in the clear and there is a larger station where it is happening under the noses of Apple (and a few other places), but there the stage is not protective, because it is as I paraphrased “in the schoolyard where we see no Apple employees” so no one at apple seems to care. So when we take a look at some media that give us ‘Complaint Website Flooded By Angry Coin Master Players’ we think that there is a case for action, but that article is almost 2 years old, as such they are doing something really really right or Apple just does not give a hoot (or is that hooters) about their consumers? And the stage is rapidly getting larger. Deceptive conduct (like the gardenscape ads), several ads all showing something that the game does not have, or perhaps in some obscure mini game. And the people are getting less and less choice, because the in game advertisements are seemingly not policed. 

And Apple (Facebook and Google too) needs to start acting. 

And here is the rub, we might see the complaints, yet the game was downloaded in extent to 100,000,000 times, so their app will hold what Apple might see as a remarkable advertisement magnet, and there is the problem, when an app becomes too big too fail there is every chance that the three players will not act in fear of driving people to one of the other two channels, but in the mean time your children are just in danger, because if an app (or game) like ‘Happy Color’ can spout these two advertisements, what other apps will expose your children to the dangers of gambling? 

And consider the start contrast hat Forbes is trying to give us (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/kateoflahertyuk/2021/09/04/ios-15-apple-just-revealed-a-game-changing-new-iphone-privacy-feature/) a mere 3 weeks ago. There we saw “We already knew iOS 15 would come with multiple privacy features that will further hurt the data-hungry habits of Google and Facebook. But now, Apple has just revealed that iPhone users will finally get a choice whether to enable Apple’s own personalised ads on their devices” yet, how does that fare for the in-game advertisements? The Forbes article does not bare that out and I feel decently certain that Apple (Facebook and Google too) is not willing to put the foot down there. So in the end how much danger are your children in when they play a ‘free’ app? Consider that nothing is for free and a player like Coin Master makes on average $24,000,000 a month. I did not look into the revenue of Lightning Link, but that is clearly a pokie, so it is clear gambling. The problem there is that kids might not understand the difference. So you thought EA games was pushing a setting? I think parents have bigger problems and in this Apple (Facebook and Google too) have a much bigger problem protecting the vulnerable and that is something the media seemingly tends to shy away from a little too eagerly in my books. This whilst somewhere in February this year we saw ‘Apple slapped with class action suit over gambling apps’ where we also see “according to plaintiffs, users are unable to collect actual cash in the casino games, but they do have the ability to win and therefore acquire more playing time. This system — paying money for a chance to win more playing time — allegedly violates anti-gambling laws in the 25 states at issue in the case” and that is only the US setting, Apple et al could have stopped this by blocking that stage but it seems they were eager to get more cash, so even as some would voice “The people who play, are literally paying to kill time”, it is a point of view that is fair enough in some cases, but the advertisements seen are using the little tricks to get a few more vulnerable players into their fold and that is a larger station. If there was a much larger ‘X’ in the advertisement they might have been in the clear, but they did not and moreover they take you STRAIGHT to the app installation page whilst the sentiment to do so was not there. A stage of deception a few times over and there will be a larger invoice for all the players allowing for this. In a stage where political players all over the field are gunning for their coffers these players did something really stupid, they are making it easy to gun for them and when the politicians get to use the cards ‘gambling’, ‘vulnerable people’ and ‘easy exploit’ together (optionally in one sentence), places like Apple (et al) will be handed a fine that could end up being considerably larger than the $1,200,000,000 fine they faced in march. 

These players see it as mere parking fines. The fines are tax deductible, the 100,000,000 downloads seem to validate a speculative advertisement revenue of $10,000,000 a day in just ONE APP and that is the stage, if the case only takes 2 years, the players are looking at an optional $7,000,000,000 in advertisement revenue, the people do not stand a chance to get a fair shake here, so where can they go?

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Filed under Gaming, IT, Law

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