Friend Spam / Impersonation

The game sends spam to your contact list or social media account.

Friend Spam is when a game automatically posts to your social media or emails people in your contact list without your knowledge. The game may even send these messages posing as you. Because your friends think that you are personally endorsing the game, they are more likely to download the game and give it a try.

Another form of impersonation is when the game uses your friend's names and pictures to falsely represent actions inside the game. The game may send you a gift and say it's from a friend, but your friend never did this. This tricks you into thinking that your friend is playing the game frequently, which may make you play it more frequently. It may also make you feel a need to reciprocate with a gift.
Citations and SourcesDark Patterns in the Design of Games
Friend Spam


Legend of the phoenix Legend of the phoenix
"The game offers in-game rewards if you post to Facebook. These are aggressively suggested every 2 weeks or so, with a red notification dot that can't be turned off."

Candy Crush Soda Saga Candy Crush Soda Saga
"There are fake people listed as your friends already when you start the game."

Plague Inc. Plague Inc.
"There is an option to infect your friends via Facebook"

Merge Dragons! Merge Dragons!
"When you sign in with Facebook, it asks for your list of friends so they can be imported into the game."