Wordle players could be unintentionally sharing data to ad companies amid claims the New York Times (NYT) "secretly filled" the game with ad tracking software.

One national newspaper reported how Ben Adida, a US-based software engineer and architect, responded to online discussions questioning if the NYT had increased Wordle's difficulty.

"NYT didn't change the game, but they sure changed the deployment. Lots more tracking," the engineer told Twitter followers.

Ad trackers - more widely known as 'cookies' - are found on most websites and allow companies to remember you through your preferences, internet searches and habits online.

Metro's GameCentral editor said there had been "no warning" about Wordle's new ad trackers, adding that "one of the original appeals of Wordle is that it was completely non-profit, with no hidden extras."

GameCentral accused the NYT of "adding trackers from both the main New York Times website and ones that send your data to third party companies such as Google and Oracle."

The Metro article reads: "That means that not only do Google and others know you’re using Wordle, and where you were when you did, but you’re now more likely to get served with ads related to The New York Times and whatever it thinks people who enjoy word puzzles are into."

In response to the article's claims, a NYT spokesperson said the Wordle game "has the same privacy rules as other Times properties" and "tracks less" data than the industry standard.

The NYT told Newsquest: "Wordle, which is now hosted on The Times's domain, has the same privacy rules as other Times properties, including our other games.

"While The Times tracks less than what is standard for the industry, we are constantly looking to improve privacy across our digital properties. We're also working on an array of solutions to better industry practices."

New York Times and Wordle

The popular online game, originally hosted on powerlanguage.co.uk, switched to the NYT website on February 11, 2022.

The NYT bought the ad-free website for a sum “in the low seven figures” from US-based software engineer Josh Wardle in January 2022.

Wordle will "initially remain free to new and existing players”.

Wordle creator Mr Wardle decided to sell the virtual puzzle after it became “overwhelming” to run.

Millions of people across the world play the daily word puzzle each day.