The Official Klout Blog

We Value Your Privacy

November 13th, 2011 by Joe Fernandez
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Privacy on the social web is an incredibly complex issue that we approach with the utmost seriousness. Our mission is to help people understand their influence and to get the most out of it. With that goal in mind, it is critical that we are model citizens in this space and do everything we can to respect the privacy of our users. That said, like Facebook, Google, and nearly every other company in this space, we are working hard to figure this out, but will not always get everything right. Recently, we erred in creating profiles for registered users’ Facebook friends who had recently interacted with them and did not have private accounts. The public interactions were used to show which Facebook friends that registered user was influencing. While this is ok per Facebook’s policy, the data returned to us about friends does not include age information and when we realized that accounts for minors had been created we rolled the changes back.

We will always be vigilant in working with the platforms (Twitter/Facebook/etc), our legal counsel, and the community to do what’s right here. We messed up on this one and are deeply sorry.

I think it’s important to be specific, so here is how Klout thinks about and has always thought about social data:

  • Klout analyzes public data to measure a person’s influence. The best way to think of this is in relation to how Google analyzes public websites to generate PageRank.
  • Klout respects the privacy settings of all the networks it measures. If you have a private account on a social network and you have not explicitly given Klout access to your data it will not be analyzed.
  • If you are creating public data but do not want it measured by Klout you can opt-out by going to the privacy page.
  • Klout has no interest in understanding the influence of minors. We are working with Facebook and Twitter on this, as well as building our own safeguards to make sure this does not happen.

We look forward to continuing to work with the community and our partners to protect your privacy.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, November 13th, 2011 at 11:46 pm and is filed under measuring influence. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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  • Janettwokay

    Thanks for the update.

  • http://twitter.com/verymorph David Finton

    But what about the people who haven given us access to their data (as friends) and who we now give access to because we let Klout in?

    You’ve missed the most important point. When we give Klout access to our Facebook, we let you look at our friends and their tags and their actions. You don’t make that clear, but you do take their data without their permission.

    I’ve made my twitter profile private now. And the world is poorer for not having my humoru.

  • http://www.blurbpoint.com/link-building-services.php Link Building Services

    Sometime due to the irresponsibility of data security of the business firm or the site ,drive them at the direction of losing that person. And as per one observation , by this reason people denied to provide the personal information. For the social media privacy problem has be on the rise , and FB be inquired for their privacy settlement.
    Though usage of lots of privacy tool , nothing is to be secure with social media even not the personal data in the profile and if now one delete it then it still be there in the server backup. So no privacy inspite of using more and more privacy tools.

  • http://wearesocialpeople.com Tammy Kahn Fennell

    Thanks for the update Joe. It’s been a rough ride for you folks in the press the past couple of weeks, but our users are still enjoying the Klout integration :)
    ~Tammy, CEO @MarketMeSuite:twitter 

  • http://blonderthanyou.wordpress.com suicide_blond

     this is the inherent problem with social media… and why i personally dont use facebook… the data is only secure until it isnt…
    xoxo

  • http://twitter.com/jmussuto Jorge A. Mussuto

    of course me too:)

  • http://corp.klout.com Klout

    Hey David, as Joe states above, if you have a private account and have not given Klout access to your data, it will not be analyzed. 

  • Carmen Jones

    The title of this post is missing a word. It should read “We Value Your Privacy NOW” – because it’s only due to the outcry on various blogs that you even made this change. Don’t pretend to be the new, caring Klout when it’s clear it’s legal that made you do this and nothing else.

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  • Susanbsbi

    Anybody who uses any social media has to realize that it is never private as hacker know how to get pass those settings. I realized that when I started in 2009 that you don’t put things on the Internet that you want to keep private. You don’t have to grant any company the acess. When you agree to the acess YOU AND YOU put you a nd your friends and families information out there.

  • http://twitter.com/DavidBurch David Burch

    I removed my Klout account because of this issue and I see no reason to go back.

  • http://www.bauser.com Michael Bauser

    “Klout has no interest in understanding the influence of minors.”

    Well, that’s not entirely true, is it? Justin Bieber is a minor, after all.

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  • http://www.obsessedwithconformity.com Jim Mitchem

    If people are giving a free online service full access to their accounts so that they can find out how influential they are, then who cares? Besides, I don’t believe that this is about influence at all, for Klout. Influence is the lure. The real value in a service like Klout which has access to all of this valuable data – is the data itself. That’s where advertisers come in. Things like “Perks.” The more a company knows about a person, the more people they can put into demographic (shifting a lot b/c of social, btw) bucket and sell to advertisers. It’s that simple. 

  • Anonymous

    As an aside, section 4 of Facebook’s Terms of Service ( https://www.facebook.com/terms.php ) states in rule 5, “You will not use Facebook if you are under 13,” amongst some other key privacy and safety rules. This is actually a larger implementation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, and applies, by law, to the collection of data for children.   It’s perhaps unrealistic in this day and age, but it’s stated pretty plainly that children under 13 aren’t allowed on Facebook, and the assumption could be made that accessing data on Facebook can be done safely assuming they are of legal age to be there, by admittance of their own policies.

  • http://twitter.com/kaimac kai macmahon

    I think the bigger question is whether you should be creating profiles for people who haven’t given you permission to do so in the first place. I would argue absolutely not, and furthermore I would argue that your assumption that if I have registered with you then you have my consent to do so is morally wrong.

    The public data argument does not wash for me, because you are obtaining that data off my back, and therefore abusing my trust. You are mining my social graph.
    Bad.

  • http://twitter.com/kaimac kai macmahon

    Those users’ data is not the issue for me. I fully agree that if you sign up with a service like this, then that’s pretty much on you. I take huge issue with them creating profiles for friends tho.

  • http://www.pammarketingnut.com PamMktgNut

    Since you state “it’s important to be specific” I think it is a necessity you clearly define what you consider private versus public. 

    How do you define private account. Many of us have settings for both public and private. 

    There are still MANY questions left unanswered. Will you be answering those too or at least replying to our email other than “it was a glitch?” 

  • http://www.pammarketingnut.com PamMktgNut

    I agree. Your algorithms are far from current. As I sent to you in 2 different emails and am yet to receive a response you hadn’t pulled my Facebook data since August yet you had a profile for me. 

    I also disconnected over 7 networks and my score has not dropped a whole point. 

    Your only answer to this list of 3 spam accounts all noted as people I influence having the exact same # of followers, following, and 2 tweets ever sent which just so happened to include a retweet of one of my tweets was “it’s a glitch”?
    http://twitpic.com/7a9u45

    Until you earn some credibility (maybe get out of beta) I do not think you should be creating public profiles for anyone without their explicit permission.

  • http://www.pammarketingnut.com PamMktgNut

    It is interesting that since the time I wrote this comment to now (50 minutes) all of my influencers have changed. Now instead of only influencing people with Klout scores of 10, now I influence real people. 

    A day late and a dollar short peeps. Just requested to have my account deleted. 

  • Anonymous

    Instead of waiting for someone who didn’t create a Klout profile to request you remove an automatically generated profile, you should delete all profiles that have had no interaction with their respective users. Anyone marked as “Invite to Klout!” should disappear.

  • http://twitter.com/maggielmcg maggielmcg

    This is all well and good, but neither my Facebook profile nor my son’s (the 13 year-old mentioned in the NYT article) are set to public, so the rationale that you created profiles for those who had public interactions doesn’t make sense to me. My Facebook profile is not public. My son’s is not public. If he commented on something on my wall, it was with privacy set to friends or friends of friends. No action either of us ever did on Facebook was public, so maybe you need to double-check with Facebook about that for future reference.

    Also, if you have no interest in understanding the influence of minors why are you, per Klout’s privacy policy, say that, while the site is not directed at persons under the age of 18, you do not “knowingly collect personally identifiable information from children under 13″? Does that mean you do knowingly collect it for children over the age of 13? Why is there the discrepancy between 18–the age over which Klout is directed–and 13–the age under which you do not knowingly collect data–shouldn’t those two ages be the same? I’m honestly curious.

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  • http://www.commonplacecrazy.com Cynthia Meents

    People between the ages of 13 and 18 are still considered minors. Just because a person is “of legal age” to be on Facebook doesn’t mean they are legally adults.

  • Victor A Chaves

    Currently unable to connect via G+ so Klout is next to useless to me…

  • Anonymous

    I’ve opted out of Klout.  I blogged the reasons why here: http://www.sharonhayes.com/business-marketing/klout/ 

  • http://techniciablog.blogspot.com/ rahul

    How about blogger, how klout uses bloggers data any privacy concern?

  • Guest

    If you valued privacy, deleting an account would be much easier. It might even exist!

  • Anonymous

    Joe is great to read your update, but in fairness you should accept next, was not Klout who discover the profile of minors, was your community of the users and bloggers who were writing about it.  Klout know long enough what kind of data is gathered from the social media platforms. If you would ever read blog posts you would see that some of the bloggers touched privacy issue a while back and KLOUT was denying any privacy concerns till today. Just a bit of correction to your post. 

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  • https://www.facebook.com/DakinAssociates Shaun Dakin

    Thanks. This is an open invitation to “speak” on #PrivChat a weekly #Privacy chat on twitter every Tuesday at Noon ET.

    More here http://epic.org/privchat/

    Shaun Dakin
    Founder @PrivacyCamp:twitter and #PrivChat

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         When we enter in 21 century many crime appear in online business like money Hanking account data delete important document changes.
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    I noticed some places won’t delete your account easily too it makes it anoying.

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  • Lydia Belami

     Your concept is bad and you should feel bad.

  • Bbynitrous

    dear klout. I enjoy using your app but at the current time I find
    Canadian have a disadvantage and should be able to claim all perks. It
    is unfair that we “earn ” perks that we cannot claim . I believe if you
    are offering perks for USA you should offer us Canadians an alternative
    perk . The past to perks I have earned I cannot redeem at all as I LIVE
    IN CANADA. This has also been brought to my attention
    to the 22 others that have signed up under my link . I think its
    totally unfair to the ones who do a lot of work and post daily about
    klout . Just because I am Canadian doesn’t mean I do less work then my
    fellow friends of the USA . So I am making an honest suggestion that you
    have alternative perks when you offer perks to USA citizens or do not
    post that we have earned a perk and yet cannot claim it ! thanks
    Brittany Lyrette 

  • http://corp.klout.com Klout

    Hi Brittany, thanks for your feedback. Currently we offer mostly US based Perks but we’re looking into more Canadian Perks in the future. We than you for your patience.

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