Internet Famous

Why Twitter Shut Down the Fame Game

Twitter claims the game violated the "spirit" of their Terms of Service.
 Why Twitter Shut Down the Fame Game

Mr. Ludwin (Twitter)

The Twitter game Fame launched just a few weeks ago, but it appears the game’s 15 minutes of fame are already up. In a tweet sent yesterday, the team announced that Twitter planned to shut down the game because it violates its Terms of Service agreement.

As we reported in March, the Fame game gave us all a chance to feel like Lady Gaga for a day. Sign up to play, and you’re immediately entered into a lottery with a new winner daily. When your name is drawn, all Fame players automatically follow you, and you get a chance to prove why they should continue to follow you once your turn is over. But no longer–apparently the game violated the “spirit” of Twitter’s Terms of Service.

“It was always a question mark about what Twitter would do,” RRE Ventures principal and Fame cofounder Adam Ludwin told Betabeat via phone. “I have a lot of respect for the guys at Twitter and they gave us an extension, they gave us ideas about ways to change the app to conform more with what they viewed as in line with the spirit of their terms.”

Though they did not find Twitter’s request at all unreasonable, the Fame team decided that the solutions Twitter offered would have changed the nature of the game so fundamentally that they’d rather not have the game on Twitter at all, he said.

“When we developed Fame we read the Terms of Service very carefully and came to the conclusion that we weren’t violating specific rules,” said Mr. Ludwin. “Twitter did highlight rules they thought we were violating. [They believe] users of Twitter need to make their own decisions about who to follow. Our argument was that by playing Fame, users are opting in and signifying their intent to follow–not a specific person, but they’re deciding, yeah we want to follow that person. We tried to resolve it with them and we couldn’t. It was essentially a disagreement over the spirit of those terms.”

Mr. Ludwin thinks that this issue highlights what is going to continue to be a growing tension between platforms and developers. “As platforms gain more and more scale, devs are going to find that they will butt heads with those platforms,” he said.

For the Fame team, the game was always more of a social experiment than anything. “We learned a lot and we got a lot out of it,” said Mr. Ludwin. “It was great that they let us go for 19 days, but at the end we just didn’t see eye to eye.”

But Fame fans, don’t get too upset: Mr. Ludwin assured us that the team is looking to launch the game on other platforms, so your 15 minutes might not be up just yet.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com