Wordle now has ad trackers, remains free to play

Though the NYT has so far kept its promise to keep viral game Wordle free to play, a software engineer discovered that it now has ad trackers. — Reuters

While Wordle continues to be free to play after being bought over by The New York Times, users will now reportedly be tracked while playing it.

Software engineer Ben Adida tweeted that the media company had modified the game’s coding to include tracking.

Tracking cookies are a type of cookie that can be shared by more than one site or service, typically used for marketing purposes like delivering customised ads based on the users’ history and behaviour patterns online.

Adida was investigating rumours that the game’s difficulty level had been tweaked to make it harder to guess the correct answer, since it was bought over by the paper that has a notoriously tough to solve crossword puzzle.

“So no, the NYT did not make Wordle harder or even change it all that much.... but can you imagine how hard it will be now if they had *any* plans to tweak it? Whew,” he tweeted, referring to how the game code had been changed significantly.

It was reported that certain insensitive and obscure words had been removed from the game’s dictionary, which led to some complaints from fans.

“We are updating the word list over time to remove obscure words to keep the puzzle accessible to more people, as well as insensitive or offensive words,” said Times spokesman Jordan Cohen in a statement to AFP.

The media company had recently purchased the puzzle game – where players guess one five-letter word per day in just six tries – for an “undisclosed price in the low seven figures”.

It assured fans that the game will remain free to play, though that statement doesn’t rule out the use of other subtle monetising strategies like embedding ad trackers.

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