Is Klout Using Our Family to Violate Our Privacy?

Is Klout Using Our Family to Violate Our Privacy?

Klout and privacy

First, apologies to anyone suffering Klout burnout here – but sometimes a topic has more than just a simple viewpoint. Especially when that topic is something like online privacy. And that privacy has (potentially) been broken by Klout.

I was on Facebook today, and my friend Tonia Ries asked about Klout’s ability to make profiles, when users haven’t connected their details with the service. I pointed her to the response from Megan Berry, Klout’s marketing manager, where she says if we don’t want to be tracked, then to make our social feeds private.

Even though I feel having to make your social feeds private to stop any service from accessing it is commercial suicide, especially for a business whose primary custom is online, at least there was an option to stop Klout from grabbing your information.

At least, until Tonia pointed out the example of her son.

He isn’t on Twitter, and he’s not super active on Facebook. He hasn’t given Klout permission to access his account, and he has his Facebook privacy settings at private. Just like Megan advises.

And yet here he is on Klout, with a profile and score of 38. However, that’s not the issue. The bigger issue is this. As you can see from the image (which I’ve blurred to protect his identity), you can clearly see that his Facebook icon is a live one (i.e., not shaded out), which means people can visit his Klout profile and be taken to his very private Facebook profile by clicking the Facebook icon.

Klout Influence Report

So, a private Facebook profile with no access allowed to Klout is now on their system and, worse still, allowing any public visitor to Klout to be taken directly to Tonia’s son’s private Facebook account?

Doesn’t something smell incredibly rotten here?

When looking into the issue more, Tonia mentions that her son commented on her Facebook wall about something. Tonia’s account is public – so does that mean Klout has activated an account for Tonia’s son, based on her being an “influencer” of her own son? All from one single wall post?

Sorry, Klout, but if that’s the case, that’s bullshit, and you’re treading on very slippery ground.

If you’re going to activate accounts for people who have their feeds set to private, and justify it by saying, “But they spoke to someone who has a public account”, that’s crap. That’s like saying, “Well, we’re going to telemarket call your son’s private phone number because we overheard you asking for his new number on your public phone.”

Seriously, Klout?

So, a word of warning to everyone. Your friends and family, who have absolutely no interest in social media, may be getting hawked as an active contributor to the Klout userbase, whether they have a private account or not, simply through their interactions with you.

Something to keep in mind when hooking up your own information to something like Klout….

Updates:
~ Check out Tonia’s own take on the issue in this post at The Realtime Report.
~ Check out Brian Carter’s take on this post over at All Facebook.
~ Marian Heath from Facebook Safety has advised they are investigating Klout to make sure they’re complying with Facebook’s Privacy Terms.
~ Fernando Fonseca has posted instructions on how to be completely removed from Klout legally.
~ Jure Klepic has published a great resource on how to get completely disconnected from Klout.
~ Update: As of November 1st 2011, you can now delete your Klout account

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Danny Brown
Co-author Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing. #1 marketing blog in world as per HubSpot. Husband. Father. Optimist. Pragmatist. Never says no to a good single malt. You can find me on Twitter - Google+ - LinkedIn.
722 comments
DannyBrown
DannyBrown

@mcahalane @MLInnovations Ya. @Klout is about as credible as a chocolate fire guard...

DannyBrown
DannyBrown

@mcahalane @MLInnovations Ya. @Klout is about as credible as a chocolate fire guard...

Akako
Akako

I totally agree.They have to adress this issue and the sooner the better.I really think it an afront to my security on the web.The ice it's already cracked , so to say....

Madison Macy
Madison Macy

I am happy I didn't registered on klout. I was about to do so. But finding these news have made me to reconsider. Thank you.

Madison Macy
Madison Macy

I am happy I didn't registered on klout. I was about to do so. But finding these news have made me to reconsider. Thank you.

LizzHarmon
LizzHarmon

@IowaHawkeyeMeg Scary stuff, isn't? Seems #Klout has lost it's glow.

MyGOMOM
MyGOMOM

@centsiblelife That's what infuriates me about all of this ~ I don't have my FB connected to my Klout ~ but that's so lame! Link to delete?

MyGOMOM
MyGOMOM

@centsiblelife That's what infuriates me about all of this ~ I don't have my FB connected to my Klout ~ but that's so lame! Link to delete?

xlmic
xlmic

@MamaWantsThis wow... that felt good.

xlmic
xlmic

@MamaWantsThis i am going to be a copycat...i don't get it and don't think I want to now. thx!

xlmic
xlmic

@MamaWantsThis i am going to be a copycat...i don't get it and don't think I want to now. thx!

Josiejacob
Josiejacob

@MamaWantsThis I don't even know what Klout is, but it sounds very invasive.

MamasMonologues
MamasMonologues

@mytimeasmom I just read that. I do keep my FB profile very private. Is there a benefit to keeping klout? @SJM_CookiesMom

coreenie_k
coreenie_k

@OldTweener @letters4lucas @klout @dannybrown It sure is!!

alexcampbell11
alexcampbell11

@letters4lucas I'm really considering deleting mine too. I never cared much for it anyway but now with the pt loss I really don't care.

mcahalane
mcahalane

@DannyBrown @mlinnovations :) I wanted Michael to hear what you've said, because you make lots of sense

mcahalane
mcahalane

@DannyBrown @mlinnovations :) I wanted Michael to hear what you've said, because you make lots of sense

centsiblelife
centsiblelife

@MyGOMOM go into profile settings all the way down to privacy, then scroll all the way down to opt out.

centsiblelife
centsiblelife

@MyGOMOM go into profile settings all the way down to privacy, then scroll all the way down to opt out.

hchybinski
hchybinski

@MyGOMOM @centsiblelife I don't have mine linked either

SaidKristin
SaidKristin

@MamasMonologues Yeah, a little too Big Brother for me. I don't mind a public Twitter feed, but I keep my FB page private for a reason.

SaidKristin
SaidKristin

@MamasMonologues Yeah, a little too Big Brother for me. I don't mind a public Twitter feed, but I keep my FB page private for a reason.

mytimeasmom
mytimeasmom

@MamasMonologues Perks? @SJM_CookiesMom

DannyBrown
DannyBrown

@mcahalane @mlinnovations Haha, makes a pleasant change :)

DannyBrown
DannyBrown

@mcahalane @mlinnovations Haha, makes a pleasant change :)

centsiblelife
centsiblelife

@hchybinski @MyGOMOM unfortunately I think it could still have access to your info.

MamasMonologues
MamasMonologues

@mytimeasmom True. It's been a long time since I've had one though. @SJM_CookiesMom

hchybinski
hchybinski

@centsiblelife @mygomom oh I have no doubt...there's lots of behind the scenes data gathering I think...from many sites

MyGOMOM
MyGOMOM

@centsiblelife @Hchybinski That's what that article concerns me about, that even if I don't link to personal FB, @Klout has access = wrong!

SJM_CookiesMom
SJM_CookiesMom

@MamasMonologues @mytimeasmom I've had one (lame) perk. I'll be careful when my son starts wanting a social profile. Until then, meh.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Danny has already posted on this topic on his blog.  I really hope we hear from Klout on this issue.  To date, the only recourse you have to protect not only your own privacy, but that of your family’s, according to Klout, is to not share any information publicly.  If there were a way to de-activate my account until this was sorted out, I would. [...]

  2. Is says:

    [...] Is @Klout Using Our Family to Violate Our Privacy? Is online influence tool Klout using our own family to build their numbers? This example from Tonia Ries suggests Klout is bypassing privacy. Source: dannybrown.me [...]

  3. [...] Is Klout Using Our Family to Violate Our Privacy? brings a more sinister twist to the mix. [...]

  4. [...] from Klout’s move to decrease scores and thus influence while also throwing a curve ball to parents concerned their kids are being added to Klout, albeit privacy settings on Facebook would suggest that as an [...]

  5. [...] read in the post by Danny Brown, Tonia Ries‘s son did not connect to Klout in anyway. His facebook page is set to private, [...]

  6. [...] and if you haven’t thought about all of the implications, read this. Yes, you do have to think about this stuff – and not be [...]

  7. [...] Is Klout Using Our Family to Violate Our Privacy – More than you should care about your recent Klout score drop is the violation of privacy that is happening in relation to Klout & Facebook. Chances are you know at least one person that wants to remain anonymous online – this is something that will affect them if they are interacting on your public Facebook profile. Additional details at The Realtime Report and All Facebook. [...]

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    I am asking this question based on twitter news and recent post by Danny Brown. Whole post can be found on http://dannybrown.me/2011/10/27/is-klout-using-our-family-to-violate-our-privacy/ Here is the short excerpt from the post. First, apologies to an…

  9. Is says:

    [...] Is @Klout Using Our Family to Violate Our Privacy? Is online influence tool Klout using our own family to build their numbers? This example from Tonia Ries suggests Klout is bypassing privacy. Source: dannybrown.me [...]

  10. [...] Danny Brown summarized in the article, “Is Klout Using Our Privacy to Violate our Privacy?”  there are concerns that Klout is creating and publicly publishing profiles of minors set [...]

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  20. [...] to their algorithm, apparently my influencers are friends of mine that are not only not using Klout they don’t even use Twitter. They are actual real life friends who happen to use Facebook. That [...]

  21. [...] addition to the criticisms of these “shadow profiles” in general, others have criticized Klout for creating these profiles even for non-adults, if those children have posted comments on or otherwise interacted with someone’s public [...]

  22. [...] addition to the criticisms of these “shadow profiles” in general, others have criticized Klout for creating these profiles even for non-adults, if those children have posted comments on or otherwise interacted with someone’s public [...]

  23. [...] addition to the criticisms of these “shadow profiles” in general, others have criticized Klout for creating these profiles even for non-adults, if those children have posted comments on or otherwise interacted with someone’s public [...]

  24. [...] addition to the criticisms of these “shadow profiles” in general, others have criticized Klout for creating these profiles even for non-adults, if those children have posted comments on or otherwise interacted with someone’s public Facebook [...]

  25. [...] addition to the criticisms of these “shadow profiles” in general, others have criticized Klout for creating these profiles even for non-adults, if those children have posted comments on or otherwise interacted with someone’s public Facebook [...]

  26. [...] addition to the criticisms of these “shadow profiles” in general, others have criticized Klout for creating these profiles even for non-adults, if those children have posted comments on or otherwise interacted with someone’s public [...]

  27. [...] addition to the criticisms of these “shadow profiles” in general, others have criticized Klout for creating these profiles even for non-adults[7], if those children have posted comments on or otherwise interacted with someone’s public [...]

  28. [...] Is Klout Using Our Family to Violate Our Privacy? – Danny Brown Schau dir doch unsere Neusten Artikel und News an. Kommentare: 0 Tweets: 0 Facebook-Likes: 0 10.11.2011 Ads_BA_AD("FOOT"); /* */ [...]

  29. [...] Danny Brown summarized in the article, “Is Klout Using Our Privacy to Violate our Privacy?” there are concerns that Klout is creating and publicly publishing profiles of minors set to [...]

  30. [...] Danny Brown summarizes some of the concerns on the Facebook scraping and Klout profiles of minors in this post: “Is Klout Using our Family to Violate our Privacy?” [...]

  31. [...] profile. In some cases that means your private accounts are linked to your Klout profile. Many smart people have covered the privacy topic more throughly than I can because their own children have [...]

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