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Watch Dogs' Digital Shadow Learns Your Facebook Secrets

Credit: Ubisoft Entertainment

(Image credit: Ubisoft Entertainment)

Where do you live? Whom do you talk to? Who do you stalk, and who stalks you? The "Watch Dogs" know — or at least they want you to think they do. "Digital Shadow" is a website, and accompanying Facebook app, that analyzes your Facebook posts and pictures, then presents that information as part of a promotion for the upcoming video game "Watch Dogs." 

Set to be released May 27 on PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox 360 and One, and PC for $59.99 (Wii U release date coming later), "Watch Dogs" is an action/adventure game in which players take the role of a rogue hacker who exploits the social networks, databases and surveillance equipment around him to achieve his own goals. 

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Digital Shadow is a fun, if slightly creepy, promotional site that uses your own Facebook information to reiterate "Watch Dogs'" themes of surveillance and privacy. The app claims to "know" deeply personal information about you, but in truth, users need to give the site permission to access their Facebook accounts by going to its promotional website

If you give it permission, Digital Shadow will then present you with a "dossier" on yourself. It shows you whom you interact with most on Facebook, calling these people "Pawns" who "can be used against you." It also shows you your "obsessions" (people that you interact with who don't often respond) and your "stalkers" (people who interact with you to whom you don't often respond).

These results are drawn from your entire Facebook history and don't appear to be weighted toward your most recent activity, however. If Digital Shadow says you're "obsessed" with your college ex, don't take it personally. It's just calculating the total number of interactions ever, not recent interactions.

Digital Shadow also tries to guess your income and monetary value based on your job. It attempts to trace your location, whether or not you have one listed on Facebook. It generates a list of your most likely passwords based on your name and your closest friends' names.

Perhaps most significantly, Digital Shadow places a monetary value on the data you share online, assessing what your displayed information would be worth to marketers and advertisers. People with higher "digital shadow values" expose more of themselves to the wider world, so don't be dismayed if you're valued "less" than others.

In addition to all this, Digital Shadow shows you "commonly used words" in your Facebook posts and performs sentiment analysis on them, using the frequency of these words to assess whether you are neurotic, depressive, deviant, volatile or submissive.

However, it appears this feature only looks for use of specific charged words such as "need," "smash," and "pain" instead of actually showing you the words you use most frequently. For example, while most users are shown their top 5 commonly used words, we only had one: "death." But given the frequency with which we talk about "Batman," we assume Digital Shadow is only looking for certain words. 

Digital Shadow assesses staff writers Jill Scharr and Marshall Honorof.

Digital Shadow assesses staff writers Jill Scharr and Marshall Honorof.


Digital Shadow is only a promotion for an upcoming video game, but it's also a pretty interesting, if dramatized, way to look at the raw data on your Facebook profile and see the kinds of conclusions someone might draw from it — or use against you.

Email jscharr@techmedianetwork.com or follow her @JillScharr and Google+.  Follow us @TomsGuide, on Facebook and on Google+.