Yesterday, famous Fortnite guy Tyler "Ninja" Blevins invited his 4.7 million Twitter followers to hit him up at his personal number—312-584-4684—for some fun and games. "I'm gonna be able to contact you guys, text you guys personally, send you guys awesome videos, behind-the-scenes," and other such content, he said. He also said he'd be texting a couple people back "personally" to set up some "vic roys" in Fortnite later in the week.
Brace yourself for crushing disappointment: It's a marketing thing. Clicking the link results in an automated response with a familiar, friendly message and a link to Ninja's Community.com page, where you can enter your name, location, gender identity, date of birth, and agree to an extremely long terms-of-use page governing your "limited, non-exclusive, terminable right to receive and send communications through the Community messaging platform." The TOS says Community gives its users "the ability [to] send and receive text messages to/from Clients" like Ninja, which sounds kind of cool, but then it comes hard with the disappointment.
Quick update on my phone number...appreciate all the freaking love. pic.twitter.com/45GEmTTlW6August 11, 2019
"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," it says. "You understand and acknowledge that conversations using the Service are not private conversations with Clients but are intended as messages sent and interactions solely for the purposes of promoting and/or advertising the CLient and the Client's products and services."
Community also retains the right to "monitor and save messages and data collected with the service" along with whatever information you voluntarily submit, and can "pool your data, analyze it, compile, index, republish, and generally use your data for machine learning, to improve the service, promote the service, and for all other legal purposes." It also retains the right to share your data with other clients, at its discretion.
This is not necessarily a bad thing—I mean, it is, at its core, but it's a fact of life when you're online: Deep data collection happens all the time, every day. In that context, it's probably no worse than signing up for the Kiss Army, which is definitely not something I'm still mad at my mom about because she wouldn't let me do it. And if you're a big Ninja fan, it could very well be a fun way to keep up with what he's getting up to, and I'm reasonably confident that at some point, a few of the people who texted Ninja will end up playing a few rounds of Fortnite with him. But maybe don't hold your breath hoping it will be you.
And for the record, yes, I did text him.