By Margaret Tseng
Whenever I show people the website clickclickclick.click, they are inevitably amused by its simplicity and game-like aspects. They experiment with it themselves. They click around, read the text on the screen, and pursue the achievements. They wonder how the site knows so much about what they are doing. They slowly realize that it is not necessarily a good thing.
clickclickclick.click, developed by Moniker, is not a normal website. Visitors to the site see only a large green button, labeled “Button”, and a blue link in the upper right corner. As soon as someone visits the site, it begins to tell them oddly specific details about their experience on the site so far, printed on the blank white background. Examples include statements like “Subject has scrolled up” and “The Subjects machine has 4 CPU cores [sic]”, creating the feel of a psychology experiment by calling the user a “subject” to be studied and analyzed. Users who turn on their sound also hear a narrator describing their every move. The voice, with a faint Dutch accent reminiscent of that of a psychologist, compares the user to others, draws far-reaching conclusions, and seems to be addressing you directly with statements like “You are a truly valuable subject.”
The “milestones” also add to the strange mood created by the website. The upper right-hand corner features the word “Achievements” and the percentage completed. When clicked, the site displays a list of achievements that the visitor has gone through, such as “You opened in Chrome”, “You disconnected from the internet”, or “Your favorite screen area was analyzed”. People on the site often look for new achievements and challenges to do, even though they are meaningless outside of the internet. These achievements show just how easy it is for websites to persuade their users to interact- and clickclickclick.click didn’t even have a real-life context. Technology can exhibit a frightening degree of control over us humans, and clickclickclick.click shows this.
clickclickclick.click is a website that is ultimately designed to make us question, “What data about us is harvested and analyzed?” and “What can really be kept private on the internet?” It also exposes how even the mundane, like mouse position and window size, can be recorded and used. The creators of clickclickclick.click have stated that their goal is to bring awareness to how closely users are tracked on the internet. In a world where computers are everywhere and technology dominates our lives, these important issues must be considered and discussed, before it is too late.