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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Comments

  1. says

    No apologies necessary. Apology rejected, in fact.

    This is one of those discussions that may SEEM like a nitpicky waste of time to some but is actually pretty important. We can’t complain about privacy and intrusive web app practices out of one side of our mouths and then refuse to stand up and use the one power we all have – our voices – to push back on these issues.

    And since you have a voice with more reach, I kind of unfairly Expect that you’ll be one of the people who fight for our rights. Apologize when stuff like this goes down and you say nothing. Then I’ll accepted it. 😉

    • says

      @Tinu Thanks, miss – just wary of being the token broken record. 😉

      Now, on a slightly unrelated note, you’re pimping these hoodlums Gini and Joe? Oy vey! :)

  2. says

    Oh boy, this is bad! This is the kind of thing I was getting at yesterday dannybrown when we discussed rating kids!

    Klout needs to address this and privacy concerns immediately!

      • says

        @DannyBrown Oh, they will keep ignoring us until they get sued. I wonder when the companies sponsoring the Perks will 1) Demand refunds because the supposed influencers who claimed Perks based on Klout scores now are not so influential due to this scoring change. or 2) Parents start demanding protection of minors.

        I can only see this ending badly unless they make some serious changes.

        • says

          @sydcon_mktg Perhaps that’s one of the scenarios that will have to happen (the brand one) before new ways to measure (that actually work and respect everyone) are put in place?

  3. says

    Agreed — but you have to think Facebook is somewhat complicit here.

    I can’t think that Klout is scraping the page for the profile picture, Facebook is serving it up through an API. Clearly, if Facebook wants “Private” to mean Private, it needs to ensure that nothing squeezes through unless a user is logged in.

    If Facebook HAS no parameter to pass back through to Klout for Klout to use in making that determination, then it’s not really a Klout issue.

    • says

      @Ike my 2 cents on this is that both parties are at fault here. I wonder what would happen say an account of a juvenile were to be assigned a Klout account. Would be more of a mess, but goes to show you that no matter how much privacy is championed over at the book, it is still a commodity and as you note, Klout just used an API for said commodity.

      • says

        @jeffespo@Ike I specifically know of minors with Klout scores (my daughters friends). I would flip my lid if my daughter ended up with one I could not get removed. A teenager doesnt need to be publicly scored on line, or found to be influential on things that could be mortifying at school or cause bullying.

        • says

          @sydcon_mktg@jeffespo Simmer down… I am NOT defending Klout… I am trying to propose who MIGHT solve the problem.

          Should minors have Klout scores without their approval? No way.

          Does anyone know of a way the Facebook API passes along information about age, such that it can be screened? Would that help in the cases of teens who are NOT sharing their age, because their parents told them not to?

          This has the potential to be a serious issue… but we might just be forming a lynch mob over an anecdotal case that involves an abnormal case.

          Can we stop the rushes to judgment?

          (Sometimes you people overreact way the hell too much.)

          Now, the personal attacks on me can commence.

        • says

          @Ike I always knew you were easy to goad into melodrama. I was merely agreeing with you and showing flaws in FB’s API. No wonder no one knows who the F you are 😉

    • says

      @Ike That’s a fair point, mate, and we all know how funky the FB privacy settings can get when there are updates. 😉

      Here’s the thing, though – you’d think there are some alerts that pop up somewhere when a service like Klout (or others) try and access a database that’s set to private.

      So, does Facebook have them showing as public? Or do both platforms know it’s private, but turn a blind eye anyhoo?

      And going by Klout’s seemingly simple goal of ignoring user requests to delete accounts and offer an opt-out option, it just makes you more doubtful of their practices.

      • says

        @DannyBrown …and as I said above, how can the Facebook API filter out someone who (at the advice of a parent) puts in a false age, so as not to appear to be a teenager?

        So many variables here, let’s not project the Apocalypse.

        • says

          @DannyBrownDidn’t there used to be a setting for “Make my replies visible to my own friends only?” If we want a world where every level of every API is granular to that extent, the internet will bog to a crawl.

        • says

          @Ike If someone wishes that anonymity, then it should be respected. Not everyone will choose that, but those that do should feel safe in the knowledge it’s being adhered too.

          Besides, doesn’t AT&T have the rights to a crawling internet? 😉

        • says

          @DannyBrown@Ike I am specifically speaking of 13 year olds I know (legally allowed on Facebook) with Klout scores. Sorry @jeffespo not comfortable putting those out there (I wouldnt want my daughters in a blog comment w/o permission).

          At 13, heck even 16 do they really need a public score they have ZERO control over?? We hear far too much these days about bullying & peer pressure, they don’t need public scores.

  4. says

    I complained about this on my latest post about how come I influence my mom when she hasn’t even used her Facebook for quite a long time, then the privacy issues…C’mon, Klout. You should have known better!

  5. davevandewalle says

    This, if true, is not cool at all.

    Sadly, quite a few people are just going to say “well, that’s the nature of the new digital beast.”

    I think Klout’s mission may be aligned with Facebook’s – get as big as you can as quick as you can, then deal with the ramifications later.

    • says

      @davevandewalle They do seem very adept at rough riding over user (and non-user) wishes re. privacy and opting out, mate. How long that can continue? That’s another question…

  6. Cyndi K. Ricca says

    Holy Mother of Invasive!! Nice catch. This is going to be ugly when it gets out there. People were having a fit yesterday as klouts new algorithm dropped scores. Then started pushing kred and peer index. I’m over it and wish I could unlink all my SM accounts.

  7. farida_h says

    I noticed that yesterday too. Some of my friends who hadn’t signed up for Klout seemed to already have their Facebook accounts linked to their Klout profiles without them having been involved in any way. My question is this: Did Tonia’s link her Facebook profile to Klout? It seems that if your Facebook profile is linked to Klout, then Klout is pulling the data of all those who interact with you on FB since they’re keeping track of who influences you and vice versa.

      • farida_h says

        @tonia_ries I see now what Klout is doing. This should serve as a warning to anyone thinking about linking Facebook to Klout. We’re unwittingly allowing Klout to access our friends’ information too and it’s important to keep that in mind. It doesn’t matter so much on Twitter since everything we share is public anyway. But it’s a problem when Klout starts accessing information of people on Facebook even when their profiles are private and they themselves haven’t given permission to Klout. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  8. Neicolec says

    I just want to be clear about this. Are you saying this his privacy settings are such that someone searching for him via Google or on Facebook can’t get through to see his Facebook postings? But if you click the Klout link you can get through and see his posts?

    If that really is true, then Facebook is (from a technical perspective) at fault, as their API is allowing that and not respecting the user’s privacy settings. Very disturbing!

    If that is the case, even though FB is at fault, Klout could prevent the problem by not automatically hooking up FB accounts. And I am really, really irritated that they would do this automatically anyway for people who haven’t opted in–especially if they are doing it for kids under 18.

    • says

      @Neicolec Hi Neicole,

      From Tonia’s own post:

      “Search Google for his name + Facebook, and you won’t find his page. You won’t even find him via Facebook search, unless you have more personal information on him to narrow your search down. But now you can easily find him via a prominent link from the Klout profile of a relatively public person.”

      And agree, Facebook does have some blame to take in this too. Although I can’t help but feel that Klout’s aggressively seeking numbers and profiles in lieu of a possible IPO down the near-future road, and that it’s coming back to bite them because of incidences like this…

        • says

          @Neicolec@DannyBrown to be super-clear: I believe that a dedicated researcher would be able to find a link to his Facebook page on google — it just doesn’t show up in the top 3 or 4 search result pages if you google just his name, or his name + “Facebook”. If you’re not a “friend” of his, you can find him on Facebook (again, not easily), but not his wall posts or his friends. But on his Klout page, you can see something Klout calls his “influencer network” – which includes people he is friends with on Facebook. So no, they are not technically exposing private information. But they are exposing information that he has worked carefully at keeping relatively hard to find — he is careful, for instance, about not including info in his Facebook profile that would make it more likely for his public FB profile to be connected to him personally. Does that make sense?

        • says

          @tonia_ries@Neicolec Perfect sense, and still sucks balls.

          Most people won’t go past the first page of a search result. So for Klout to make it easy to go straight there? Sigh…

    • JEFFin140 says

      If the FB profile is set to private, then you can’t see his posts, whether you find him through Google or though a link from Klout. Yes, you can get to his profile from the Klout page, but you can’t see his posts if his FB profile is set to private.

  9. juliepippert says

    It caught my eyes, today, when people I know are not terribly active on social media and who I know wouldn’t know Klout from a hole in the ground, were on my Klout page, with scores and links back to their private Facebook pages (my sister and father??). I’ve long stood for Klout as a valid system of measurement, not perfect perhaps, but relevant, and useful as a point. However, my score rapidly shifted as did my areas of influence (including to hairstyles — which…what?), and my influencers/influencees made no sense. Initially I was confused, then concerned and worried whether I could still trust Klout as a valid point for measurement. When Tonia shared the story about her son, it sounded as if Klout very much crossed a boundary they just should not. It’s a weakness in Facebook’s security, sure. But weak security doesn’t excuse hacking. IMHO.

    • says

      @juliepippert Like you say, Julie (and as @Ike mentions in his earlier comment), yes, Facebook need to keep their private feeds private. Yet at the same time, companies like Klout need to be more ethical when it comes to disseminating information and how they use that to boost numbers, so they appear more attractive to investors.

  10. DustBunnyMafia says

    That’s dangerous. Talk about treading on thin ice. Just wait until they really go too far and the ice starts to crack.

    • says

      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….

  11. Liz says

    It seems to be that this is an egregious invasion of privacy. But the implications are even broader. Increasingly certain employers are using Klout scores as a foundation for hiring decisions. Who knows what type of long-term ramifications this could have when this young man enters the workplace.

  12. danielnewmanUV says

    Not sure what Klout’s plan is other than pissing people off right now? Perhaps they are subscribing to the all PR is good PR philosiphy?

    We sure are talking about them a lot!

  13. FairieMoonChild says

    @DavidPylyp yeah, I haven’t been impressed by Klout for some time. It’s changed since it first began.

  14. says

    I like how on the AllFacebook post, the author says “Granted, not everybody wants to remain completely anonymous, but if you do, or you want your children to, let them know not to comment on public posts.” Eventually we’ll have to stop talking to people altogether if we don’t want to have our privacy violated somehow.

    • says

      @Kristi Hines That’s probably one of the saddest statements I’ve seen, Kristi – that we have to lose the openness and connections that social media promised due to some platform’s race for numbers.

    • juliepippert says

      @Kristi Hines Totally agree — we shouldn’t have to gag ourselves just to not be taken advantage of. There are reasonable boundaries and this crosses them.

  15. jureklepic says

    Thank you Danny for posting this.

    One thing Klout is good at is to blind us with their own facts. Same as i said in my post, when i found out that i am influencing a person with whom I only exchange Facebook messages which are in fact not public.

    I understand they gather public info but where they found public info on my style for example ???? Labeling the people is not part of public data.

    I can give you an example with protected tweets same issue people are having Klout profiles created, based on lame excuse that tweet was RT by public user. But in Twitter rules is clearly stated that tweets of protected users will not be visible.

    • says

      @jureklepic Hi Jure,

      They definitely seem to be using really flimsy workarounds as to why they have profiles on their site, that aren’t public or active. I wonder what their true reach would be if these non-user ones were removed?

      Which reminds me, I still have your posts bookmarked to comment on, will do so this evening. :)

  16. ArchivalBiz says

    I deactivated my Facebook account after finding too many holes in their privacy settings. In an effort to “clean up” what I’d posted there, I spent TWO WEEKENDS, deleting 4 years worth of posts. I logged out (didn’t deactivate) cleared my cache, restarted my computer and then signed back into Facebook. I requested my ‘archive’, and guess what? That’s right, ALL my posts were still there, not deleted.

    Really long story short…there is NO SUCH THING AS PRIVACY ON THE INTERNET. Period. Those “private” messages that you’re sending? Yeah, those are saved on a server somewhere, just waiting to be accessed. So are your chats. So, the ONLY way to keep yourself private? Don’t post anything private on the Internet. Anywhere.

    As for me, I’m back on Facebook, but I’m using it in a more businesslike fashion. I’m an Archivist and Genealogist…my business is people and (often) private information. It is what it is…but to have the slightest belief that any of these platforms are private is deluding yourself.

    • says

      @ArchivalBiz Hi Laura,

      While I agree in principle re. private conversations, I’d also say that applies more to folks that are web or social media-savvy.

      For more “mainstream” and “every day” users, they’d be right in expecting privacy when the platform they sign up for informs them they can have privacy. Rightly or wrongly, we put trust into networks, etc, respecting our wishes.

      Naive? Maybe. Ethical? Definitely.

      It’s interesting to see which companies are over-stepping the ethical boundaries (or grey areas) in the scramble for most members…

    • geekgiant says

      @AlCastle Wouldn’t that be awesome if that were literally true? Like in two years, it was all “LOL, we made up random numbers n00bs…”

  17. CDMitchell says

    @DannyBrown @msgiro @massago @klout has lost its clout with me. Now just like rating 45’s on old American Bandstand.

  18. Kim Phillips says

    “Internet privacy” is kind of like “jumbo shrimp.” Complaining about privacy on the internet is like standing in Times Square with no clothes and expecting people not to stare. The only way to be private is not to use it.

  19. says

    I noticed four Facebook friends on my Klout profile with this latest change (shown as people I influence). They are NOT social media folks and now show on Klout with profiles, scores, etc. I thought it was incredibly odd, too. As I know they would never knowingly participate in social media ranking or enroll on the Klout site.

    I, however, did a test. I changed my FB settings to use as my page and then visited my profile on Klout. I clicked FB and it took me to my FB profile, but did NOT show my wall or other information (my FB page is locked down). Therefore, there was no privacy breach as it pertains to information that is not shared publicly.

    Perhaps the trick is to be sure that your Facebook page is set to the highest privacy option?

    • says

      @WordsDoneWrite That seems to be the only way, by the looks of it, Amber. since it would appear that Klout isn’t all that bothered about respecting user choices and wishes to remain off their system.

      That says more about them than any metric criticism could.

      • says

        @DannyBrown At the end of the day, everyone needs to remember Klout is a marketing company. They make their moola off of companies that partner with them, not off users. Just like with Facebook, people are the product and not the client.

        • says

          @WordsDoneWrite Be interesting to see how partner companies would react if something is brought up due to minors being highlighted. @tonia_ries just posted on G+ about a 13-year old with a Klout profile…

        • says

          @DannyBrown@WordsDoneWrite@tonia_ries yes, this is exactly what I noticed lastnight. FB friends who I haven’t talked to in months are now showing as influencing me and also have higher scores even though they have only one network account showing which is facebook? Spooky! 😉

  20. says

    Danny, you know how much I HATE Klout but here is what I am wondering about now… Apparently people are paying attention to someone’s score when they want to hire him for example, to see if they should work together (if the person has enough influence) etc.

    So if you are not a well known person but you managed to build a score, connecting more networks will bring better score. Of course disconnecting them all will lower your score a lot.

    Unless everyone would stop using Klout and disconnect their accounts, you would want to be on top of the game by building your score.

    So what would you recommend in this case?

    A lot of people are already comparing it with Google PR and Alexa, which we have no control over but people still care about the numbers. Hope the question makes sense….

    • says

      @Brankica Hey there Bran,

      I’m probably the wrong person to ask, due to the current topics, hehe. 😉 However…

      From an outside point of view, if companies are (and they are) using Klout as a metric, then knowing how the system works is key. If that means only following or sharing content from certain folks, so be it.

      Mind you, the real test will be when you get the job. If your “expertise” is built on reading blogs and tweeting them to raise your Klout score, as opposed to actual business smarts, then you’ll soon be found out.

      So both you and companies in the hiring process need to make sure what it is you actually want to be known for.

      (The “you” part is generic, and not *you* – just to clarify, miss!)

      • says

        @DannyBrown LOL, I know you don’t mean me ;)I just realized yesterday that companies do that and really felt sorry for people that are great but because they aren’t taking part in the Klout madness don’t have high scores…

    • says

      Brankica – my score dropped 19 points yesterday. I had Google+ in 5k+ circles, Twitter 64k+ followers, LinkedIn 1500 connections, Youtube & FAcebook. I am now influenced by and have lower score than ppl in my community who have only one network connected such as Facebook. There are numerous examples of this. There are spam accounts with only hundreds of followers with Klout scores in the 70’s! The new algorithm seems to put higher weight on the amplification probability that appears to be higher the smaller your network.

      • jureklepic says

        @PamMktgNut@Brankica Brankica only lazy recruiter would go and take Klout score into account. Yes I agree is great tool for screening people when you are old fart in HR and want to have things done easy. What bothers me personally the most is the fact that Klout is pushing his way in the world asking people to pay more attention to online credentials then offline. As @DannyBrown said reading @mashable or #techocunch will not make you an expert and many in “SM world” thinks that reading is good enough. Well even the fact that SM is young and evolving we dont really have “experts” as of jet. Yes I agree with you @PamMktgNut i am influenced by my relatives now, how nice and all what we talk about has nothing to do with #SM neither my work. I am more shocked on some drops of subscores some lost up to 60 scores. So how off Klout really was before or is now, we will never know.

  21. danieleagee says

    Another problem here for Klout, and this will end up being a huge problem for them if they don’t get it under control in the coming weeks, is how absolutely shitty their community management is. The original Facebook post was 5 hours ago. That’s five hours without acknowledgement, apology, working with us to fix the problem, deletion of profiles, etc. Nothing.

    Think of how this could have been a success story for them. Let’s say they answer in an hour with a sincere apology, deletion of the profile, a blog post from CEO Joe announcing the new steps they’ll be taking to delete all underage profiles and to better improve their age verification. Hell, take it further.

    @DannyBrown has pointed out many a time how awful their opt-out service is. There’s a reason for that, and I’m guessing it has nothing to do with us and everything to do with advertisers. If they allow opting-out and only have a strick opt-in policy, their numbers will tank. Numbers tank, advertisers leave, they run out of VC money in three years and go under. But right now, as an advertiser, I wouldn’t sponsor a perk because, “Well, shit guys, you illegally have kids on here.”

    Here’s the perfect reasoning for the pivot to a completely opt-in service and actually make your service better. Blame it on Facebook making the wrong type of information available and it was an oversight and change it. They’re a small company. They can make this happen. Instead, they have a poorly set up social media management team and they’re losing credibility by the minute instead of gaining it.

    This is 2011. Sigh.

    • jenzings says

      “But right now, as an advertiser, I wouldn’t sponsor a perk because, ‘Well, shit guys, you illegally have kids on here.'”

      This is, IMHO, where they are really going to get in trouble. Auto-creating accounts for adults: bad. Doing so for kids: dumb, and possibly illegal. The coverage of the score debacle is one thing, but this little revelation could sink them quick if they don’t correct it fast.

      @danieleagee@DannyBrown

      The lack of foresight on these things is almost stunning.

    • BillJula says

      Not to justify this instance but, I’m guessing Klout’s motivation at this point is to generate as many ‘profiles’ as possible at whatever the cost. The more profiles they have, the more they can charge big brand advertisers to access Klout ‘consumers’ (yes, that’s what everyone with a Klout profile is whether they like it or not). It’s a good model (for them), but perhaps not as useful as those of us in business would like to think.Sorry for the plug but the following is relevant… At PROskore we’ve taken a different approach. First, we’re 100% Opt-In. Second, our scoring goes much deeper than just analyzing someone’s social networking activity – to include a persons professional history (education, work experience, etc). We also take into account their activity on the PROskore network itself (hence why we’re opt-in), which includes recommendations, connections, etc. Remember, we’re a business network too. Lastly, we do factor in social influence (including a Klout score), however the social influence we measure is weighted more heavily to business related activity such as LinkedIn and Facebook Fan Pages (vs. personal profile).

      We look forward to Klout improving their scores (it helps all of us). It’s good for the space.

      For what it’s worth, here’s a feature article about PROskore from TechCrunch yesterday: http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/25/proskores-new-business-network-aims-to-be-linkedin-klout-leads-generation/

    • BillJula says

      @danieleagee@DannyBrown

      Not to justify this instance but, I’m guessing Klout’s motivation at this point is to generate as many ‘profiles’ as possible at whatever the cost. The more profiles they have, the more they can charge big brand advertisers to access Klout ‘consumers’ (yes, that’s what everyone with a Klout profile is whether they like it or not). It’s a good model (for them), but perhaps not as useful as those of us in business would like to think.

      Sorry for the plug but the following is relevant… At PROskore we’ve taken a different approach. First, we’re 100% Opt-In. Second, our scoring goes much deeper than just analyzing someone’s social networking activity – to include a persons professional history (education, work experience, etc). We also take into account their activity on the PROskore network itself (hence why we’re opt-in), which includes recommendations, connections, etc. Remember, we’re a business network too. Lastly, we do factor in social influence (including a Klout score), however the social influence we measure is weighted more heavily to business related activity such as LinkedIn and Facebook Fan Pages (vs. personal profile).

      We look forward to Klout improving their scores (it helps all of us). It’s good for the space.

      For what it’s worth, here’s a feature article about PROskore from TechCrunch yesterday: http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/25/proskores-new-business-network-aims-to-be-linkedin-klout-leads-generation/

    • says

      @danieleagee You know, the funny thing is, Joe Fernandez used to be really pro-active at replying to posts, questions, emails, etc, and it won him a lot of praise.

      Perhaps he still does, but it seems to be Megan Berry (the marketing manager for Klout) that does most of the community management for them now. And the standard pat response is to “Make your feeds private.” Because that completely makes sense for people online…

    • BillJula says

      @danieleagee@DannyBrown

      Not to justify this instance but, I’m guessing Klout’s motivation at this point is to generate as many ‘profiles’ as possible at whatever the cost… and worry about the fallout later. Hard to pivot from that at this point. The more profiles they have, the more they can charge big brand advertisers to access Klout ‘consumers’ (yes, that’s what everyone with a Klout profile is whether they like it or not). It’s a good model (for them), but perhaps not as useful as those of us in business would like to think.

      Sorry for the plug but the following is relevant… At PROskore we’ve taken more of the approach you mention. 100% Opt-In with the main goal of earning credibility and showing real value to the users by allowing them to use their scores to their advantage (not an advertisers) within a business network framework. We’ve really focused on our scoring algorithm to make it airtight with regards to measuring professional reputation as opposed to just social influence.

      I actually hope Klout continues to improve their scoring (we factor Klout scores into our own). It’s good for everyone and good for this space.

      For what it’s worth, here’s a feature article about PROskore from TechCrunch yesterday for anyone interested: http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/25/proskores-new-business-network-aims-to-be-linkedin-klout-leads-generation/

      • says

        @BillJula@danieleagee

        Oh, for sure – there’s no doubt in my mind that the numbers are being beefed up for a reason. Will it profit them, or bite them in the ass? Time will tell – but these things often have a way of coming around full circle, so I guess we’ll see.

        Thanks for the heads-up rer. PROskore – anything that offers opt-in will pique my interest much more than opt-out, will take a look.

        Cheers.

      • danieleagee says

        @BillJula I was agreeing with everything that this comment said until you said, “We factor Klout scores into our own.” Pardon?

        • BillJula says

          @danieleagee Ha… We do factor it in, however the Klout score doesn’t carry nearly the same weight as all the other business related factors such as a person’s real world experiences, their LinkedIn activity, engagement on PROskore, etc… For what it’s worth, Klout’s scoring claims to dig deeper into a persons Twitter history (re-tweets, etc.) – which is something we’re not as concerned about doing on our own (for now)… We think there’s some merit to that within the context of our overall scoring algorithm. By itself, you’re right, it’s got some obvious issues.

        • danieleagee says

          @BillJula The least smartass remark I can think of is, “If someone bakes you a batch of cookies and tells you there’s shit in them, do you really care about the amount?”

          Klout certainly takes into account twitter history. Pretty well. Sometimes their measurement tools are spot on. But, as more and more people are figuring out this week, the actual number is crap. I’m assuming you’re using Twitter, but aren’t digging as deep so you’re using Klout score as well?

          My question would be why? If you’re going to admittedly half-ass your twitter activity, why not use your half-assed part instead of someone else’s who has established they aren’t very good?

          I promise I’m not trying to be a tool, I’m just curious. Apparently Curious Daniel sounds like a tool.

        • BillJula says

          @danieleagee Depends how hungry I am and whether they are fresh out of the over and chocolate chip. I might nibble around… Which is essentially what we’re doing with Klout. If they get their shit together (no pun intended), we might one day take an even bigger bite of Klout. If not, we’ll just bake our own cookies.

          All kidding aside… let’s not lose focus of the fact that I said previously, they presently play a very minor role in our algorithm.

        • BillJula says

          @danieleagee

          Depends how hungry I am and whether they are fresh out of the oven and if they are chocolate chip cookies. I might nibble around…

          Which is essentially what we’re doing with Klout. If they get their shit together (no pun intended), we might one day take an even bigger bite of Klout. If not, we’ll do their part (better) on our own.

          All kidding aside… let’s not lose focus of the fact that what I was trying to convey was that they play a minor role in our scoring… but do have a role to play on some level.

  22. CASUDI says

    Gut feeling! It seems FB is in the market to buy Klout. What do you think? (confession I’ve not read all 80 comments so apologize in advance if this has already been covered)

      • CASUDI says

        No fact(s) to base this on……however when I think things through and read the incredible amount of stuff being written on Klout, it seems like a logical conclusion. @tonia_ries

      • CASUDI says

        Not sure enough people take them seriously enough for an IPO ~ buy out is my guess ~ however stranger things have happened ~ when you look at the comments here & everywhere one might even think it’s just a PR stunt!

        Always fab to convo with you. @DannyBrown

    • says

      @CASUDI wow I never thought of that. However, now that you mention there is a definite slant of the numbers to Facebook with the updates this week it seems, regardless if they planned it or not. It’s obvious the folks with influence on Twitter, YouTube, Google+ got hammered. All that matters now is we talk to our homeys on Facebook. Ridiculous. If I want biz talk it’s not usually happenin’ on my Facebook personal page.

      Or maybe it’s simply the advertisers who they are working with that want to focus in on home and family products? Axe for hair, subway sandwiches etc. Don’t know. Only peeps that know are Klout and they seem to be pretty quiet.

  23. danieleagee says

    @Wanken Nothing says awesome like creating profiles for 13 year olds without permission. New user model for @Designspiration, maybe?

  24. says

    That is crazy and I agree Klout is walking on thin ice. I hope they soon have the guts to come forward and admit they messed up with the launch yesterday. They are not far from losing all trust from the people who built them.

    Wow, if that was my son I would expect an answer and fast.

    My list of people I influenced is completely wacked out as of yesterday. Shows people who I haven’t talked to in months or maybe once or twice.

    Not good, not good.

      • says

        @Jeffrey Reidy How can you blame Facebook when the profile is on their site? Facebook isn’t making it public and listing it as an influencer. Yes, Facebook obviously has a place at the table however until we know the facts we can’t blame Facebook and I think responsibility points to Klout.

        • Jeffrey Reidy says

          @PamMktgNut If it wasn’t for Facebook, Klout wouldn’t even know the profile exists, because it doesn’t show up on Google or on Facebook search. Klout only knows about it because of Facebook’s API that served up the info to Klout.If you don’t know the facts and how an API works and how Klout can get the url of a profile that is set to private, then how can you blame Klout? I don’t understand why if you don’t know the facts I can’t blame Facebook but you can blame Klout.It was an emotional headline and topic for a blog post and @DannyBrown definitely did a great job getting people to talk about it.Facebook has a long history of privacy issues, why would you not lean towards blaming them over leaning towards blaming Klout?

        • says

          @Jeffrey Reidy @PamMktgNut @DannyBrown I never stated all blame points to any one platform. I am simply stating Klout can’t blame Facebook for how Klout posted info for a minor on their own site. Facebook obviously provided the data. However it’s also obvious there is something wacky with how Klout has leversged the Facebook data, friends into the new algorithm. We don’t know and as I said only Klout knows.

        • says

          @PamMktgNut@jeffrey I think the key thing we can agree on is that companies that build social networks need to adhere to a much stronger line of how they gather data.

          For me, the fact that Klout can build a profile about someone just because they might pop up once in a conversation shows they have scant regard for the public, and only care about numbers.

          That’s fine; that’s their reason d’aitre. I’ll just avoid feeling sympathetic for them if this comes back and bites them in the ass.

    • says

      @PamMktgNut The thing is, Pam, it seems they’re reticent to do so, as @danieleagee shares in his comment. But like you say, there’s always only so much people will take before coming out swinging, as groups on Facebook and Twitter accounts are now starting to show…

      • says

        @DannyBrown@danieleagee I agree Danny. It’s time the social community comes together and says “we will no longer be played by a number.” We are not puppets who need a score of any type to define who and what we are. It’s not likes, tweets, retweets or klout who defines how influential anyone is. It’s the hearts we touch, the lives we impact, the mouths we feed and the changes we help people make to make other lives better that matters. In all reality I think this Klout fiasco is a good wake up call for all of us. I feel sorry for the woman who it is her son. I refuse to let my kids on Facebook for this exact reason.

        • jureklepic says

          @PamMktgNut@DannyBrown Can i give you even something more funny. How stupid people at Facebook and Twitter really are. In API Terms and Conditions of both networks is stated, that you agree upon granted API access to not sell data or content, but what Klout does is exactly what they should not do. Perks program are sold based on topics and topics are part of content gathered from Facebook Twitter via API. Now or people at Twitter and Facebook are really so lame and stupid or they all playing us. On the end of the day, end of the year i might just send request to Klout to share profit with me, well they are making profit out of my content right :) I never really agreed on their Terms and Conditions anyhow.

        • says

          @jureklepic@PamMktgNut You know, that’s a great point, Jure – and something worth following up on re. payments from brands to Klout for access to their database.

      • says

        @DannyBrown @danieleagee okay I just noticed something even wackier. I forgot I have my friends set to private on Facebook. When I click on Friends on Klout it shows an error stating I have no friends.

        So here is my question. Is the new algorithm putting heavier weight into Facebook friends? If yes that could be why so many ppl saw a drop in score? Just a thought.

        Wonder what would happen if I changed my setting on Facebook to friends being more open. The bigger question is why should opening up yet more private data such as my entire list of friends make me more influential?
        I

  25. RichBecker says

    This is unbelievable, really. I subconsciously noticed this yesterday, but hadn’t given it much thought. I joked with my wife that she was one of the reasons my score was dragged down. She didn’t get the joke. She had never been on Klout and has a private FB. You just made it click for me.

      • RichBecker says

        @DannyBrown Absolutely. You’ve inspired a broader topic too, Danny. I’ll have it up tomorrow. Some of your fine work linked in too.

  26. livefamilylife says

    I really got a headache from all these privacy issues lately. First Facebook, now Klout, and who knows what’s next … It’s seems that only way to save our privacy is to deactivate our accounts. These people just don’t know what word privacy means.

  27. says

    If my son’s picture was on their website, we would have some serious problems. I would be raising hell and carrying a big stick: my Remington Rifle! What gets me is that some people are in uproar over their Klout score going down a few points. Seriously? How did we get to a point where we let websites determine our own self worth?

    • says

      @Sonia (Sunnnee) Couldn’t agree more, Sonia – bobledrew nailed that perfectly in his post yesterday. Funny how vision can be screwed up by false importance.

      • says

        @DannyBrownbobledrew Danny, so true and I think Social Media can get some people so “caught up” in the “drama”. Social Media is just that…”social”; a place to meet and network with new people. Nothing more and nothing less.

  28. Jeffrey Reidy says

    You people do realize that the real problem is with Facebook serving up the info and not with Klout, right? Klout’s system most likely doesn’t even know the kid’s age because that info is private on his profile. The info and the posts are all still private.Blame Facebook.

    • says

      @Jeffrey Reidy Facebook is one facet of it, Jeffrey. Klout is another facet, and the one that sets up accounts regardless of privacy (as has been mentioned by others who have either disconnected or made feeds private), and yet Klout still perseveres in building profiles without permission.

      That’s what has “us people” and others questioning their methods.

      • Jeffrey Reidy says

        @DannyBrown Sorry about the “you people”. :) Klout doesn’t set up accounts, they auto-generate profiles. Semantics, but there is a slight difference. Have you ever Googled yourself (I’m sure you have) and seen how many random sites auto-generate profiles from your Twitter profile alone? I just think people are putting too much blame on Klout for this. Just my opinion, and I’ve been wrong before.

        • says

          @Jeffrey Reidy No worries, mate.

          For sure, Klout is generating the information based on what’s available. The problem is, the remainder of the sites that generate profiles aren’t describing themselves as “the standard for influence”, and promoting their platforms as something that can be used to define a person’s worth for a job or similar.

          Additionally, the issue wouldn’t be half as bad if Klout allowed the opt-out process. But, as @danieleagee mentions in his comment below, that wouldn’t be very kosher for false numbers to pimp out to advertisers now, would it? 😉

          Cheers for the thoughts, sir.

  29. says

    Thank you for this warning Danny. This is something I love about this new social world we live in. The people who try to take advantage of it don’t get away with shit for long. And yet social media also works it’s magic and lets the heroes of the world connect with the specific people with whom they can be heroes to all across the planet. Gotta love a network of people (like you’ve cultivated here) looking out for each other. :)

    • says

      @Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2 Hey there Lewis,

      Especially when that shit is surrounded by bunkum smoke when it comes to justification of methods… 😉

      And yes, gotta love seeing folks take a stand and show that there’s more than one way to combat BS.

      Cheers, sir!

  30. Leah Baade says

    This is a great post – and the comments seem to be rolling in! I’m looking forward to reading more as this unfolds. I was wondering why I was seeing all of my family & friends on Klout this morning!

  31. Danny Brown says

    There are definitely some great thoughts on this from all sides, Leah – like you say, be interesting to see how this plays out.

  32. Becky Cortino says

    Thank you for bringing this to our atten Danny! You are so right — anyone not signing on to be ‘connected’ to/rated by Klout has the right to maintain their privacy as they see fit, according to their privacy settings and expectations.

  33. says

    I noticed a change in the ‘who I influence’ lineup when Klout switched things up this week. I found it VERY odd – they were ALL on Facebook and haven’t a clue about Klout. Indeed, Klout goes so far as to encourage me to invite them to Klout. Looks like they’ve already done that; woops, my bad, they didn’t. They have made it look like these folks are willing contributors or participants when in fact they are not.

    I’m fatigued. And irritated.

    • says

      @EricaAllison Definitely a numbers game. Which wouldn’t be so bad if they did it properly, but putting my family on there because they dare speak to me somewhere online? Not good…

      • says

        @DannyBrown@EricaAllison someone I heard from late yesterday said they were under the impression that Klout was getting “new signups” as a result of the new algorithm. auto-creating profiles for my family is not a new sign-up!!!

  34. saving4someday says

    @nugglemama Bon Jour, Julia! Merci pour le RT. *that’s all the broken French you get* Hope you’re ready to kick Friday into high gear.

  35. KatherineBull says

    Glad to get this info. I just unlinked my FB account and blocked the app on Facebook. That seemed to do the trick. I think anyway!

  36. LisaGemini says

    @jeenyice I can’t decipher Klout’s algorithms, either. I am NOT an influencer on the NE Patriots. Except to hate on ’em!

  37. RTRViews says

    @donbart Thanks for the RT, Don. I find this disturbing. Even worse is if people are really using #Klout for important decisions.

  38. Danny Brown says

    Agreed, Becky – yes, I allow the Facebook or Twitter Terms of Service to share my info with third parties. NOT allow these third parties to make public profiles of me for monetary gain…

  39. DocSheldon says

    I just disconnected all but my Twitter account, and sent an email requesting the deletion of my account and all information from the Klout system. They “say” within a month… we’ll see.

  40. rjfrasca says

    @OPKitchen Freaked me out. I already have serious issues with FB privacy. Klout looks like it went a step further (openly) on top of that

  41. GemWebb says

    I played around with Klout last night and found that they DO NOT allow you to make a link directly to your FANPAGE. Instead you must connect with your MAIN PROFILE account first, giving access to your family and close connections. There should be some sort of additional API request to choose the “FACEBOOK LIST” you want to be Klout measuring US by like “Close Friends”, “Business Contacts”. It’s open game for all our information once we click CONNECT to any social account. I have friends that build facebook apps for mobile and desktop and they have shown me that there are ways to get you to connect to pages without your clicking of a LIKE button. Also along with grabbing as much info as they want from your open profile. We’re in the game of protecting our identity when all the social media businesses online are in the game of getting as much information from us as possible. Keep treading water everyone. Maybe a middle service will come along like a PROXY social media account that controls our privacy for all our accounts. Sheesh, I better start writing all my connected accounts down…. Just kidding, I already do :)

    • BillJula says

      @GemWebb Yep. That’s why we (PROskore) allow people to sync both (personal profile AND Fan Page). We actually give more weight to the Fan Page – because the PROskore is focused on professional reputation (not just social influence). We care less about how many friends and relatives you have… and more about whether people are excited about your business. That helps determine your true score – your PROskore. New article about PROskore on Mashable just this morning: http://mashable.com/2011/10/27/klout-for-professionals/

    • says

      @GemWebb Hi Gem,

      The account in question (for Tonia’s son) is simply a personal profile, not a Fan Page. It’d make more sense for Klout to score Fan Pages, from a business and brand partnership point of view, as opposed to a personal profile. After all, if you’re not influential with your friends and family, who are you influential with? 😉

      The sad point remains, though – Klout are almost acting like snipers, waiting for people to come out of “hiding” (private accounts) so they can line up a hit (Klout profile). Lame and sad.

  42. leslie says

    @drhypercube exactly. I’ve known @klout had access to your DMs for a while now (bad) but find that FB thing intriguing and creepy

  43. says

    Can anyone say ‘Use an Alias’? I know suicide in our industry.

    This is really really disturbing. Before Hootsuite went to the Pro version anyone could click on my account and pull up all my social media profiles. Even ones I barely ever used from meebo to flickr to myspace to friendster. It was OPT OUT to have this changed and I found it very upsetting.

    This case you mention should worry Klout. What if a predator connects with this child via Klout. And since the Parents and Child made the profile private on Facebook….how does this happen? Is Facebook allowing it? Lawsuit. I see a lot of worms in the can.

    But seriously all this measuring to me is a cash grab and nothing else.

    • says

      @HowieSPM Exactly, mate.

      Teens and non-web savvy folks are getting whored by the likes of Klout for money. Which is not cool.

      Let’s look at it another way – how will Klout feel when there’s the first suicide by a depressed teen being bullied by school “friends” over their “pathetically low Klout score”?

      I hope to God that never happens – but we all know the horror stories of teens being bullied online, and this measurement crap is playing right into that.

      • says

        @DannyBrown I agree with you Danny. One thing most of these businesses do is embed in their ToS that they can’t be held liable. But if I don’t sign up for Klout hard to say they can remove liabilty.

      • says

        Well then since Tonia has pointed out that they are flouting their own TOS I smell future lawsuits should this happen. The loss of potential profit should make some companies tidy up their behaviours….Ah… I see Howie already said that. To answer the suicide issue. I don’t believe that will stop a days trading Danny – do you? – Deaths on FB haven’t changed anything. It’s monetary losses that will potentially provide change.@DannyBrown @HowieSPM

  44. Wzzy says

    @TomMoradpour @dannybrown I’m cool with them adjusting their algorithms but not with them violating people’s privacy. I’ve unlinked FB.

  45. sbhsbh says

    Slow down…So I found the “mystery” user quite easily. I clicked on the Facebook icon and it brought me to this users account. Ok, so what? The same information I would have found if searching through Facebook…If you’re a kid or and adult and register to any network you’re visible. Klout is the flavor of the month, so its used as the crutch. Stay off line and don’t register for anything if you’re so concerned about privacy.

    • says

      @sbhsbh Here’s the thing right here:

      “Search Google for his name + Facebook, and you won’t find his page. You won’t even find him via Facebook search, unless you have more personal information on him to narrow your search down. But now you can easily find him via a prominent link from the Klout profile of a relatively public person.” From @tonia_ries , the mother of the son in question.

      His profile is locked down. He has no other profiles. Klout pounced as soon as he appeared to leave a comment on his mum’s public wall. That’s BS.

      And staying offline to protect privacy is a bit like Megan Berry’s advice – not very practical for businesses with an online component.

      How about this? Be an ethical company and do the right thing?

      • sbhsbh says

        @DannyBrown@tonia_ries Well I couldn’t easily find him until I saw this post. Then it was easy. Locked down? His wall was open.

        If privacy is very important to the individual FB is not the place to register an account. You drop your guard down the minute register. Those are the facts. In this case, if Klout wasn’t popular there would be no story. They wouldn’t being pulling the info unless they had the green light from FB. Google + will be live soon with Klout, so that will be more info…

        Klout just got another $30 M so we’ll have material from them for a while…

        • says

          @sbhsbh@tonia_ries Reading the ToS of any social network you sign up to, they advise your info will be shared. They don’t say your info will be used to set up a profile you don’t want on a site that has broken metrics, but can still affect how you’re viewed (incorrectly) by others.

          There’s a big difference, and Klout are doing a great job of bypassing that at every level. It works for you – great. But others want out, and Klout’s ethics are being challenged on the way they’re handling this and other concerns.

          So yes, I’m sure there will be more material…

        • sbhsbh says

          @DannyBrown@tonia_ries See it’s more than just privacy for you. The “broken metrics” of Klout (I agree btw) have nothing to do with privacy. It also seems to be personal. We’ll agree to disagree on “privacy”, shake hands, and move on. Have a good one Danny.

        • says

          @sbhsbh@tonia_ries

          There are many things wrong with Klout, and privacy and metrics are definitely the two biggest.

          Certainly not personal, but from the viewpoint of a parent and a business owner educating clients.

          Have a good one yourself, mate.

        • says

          @DannyBrown@sbhsbh speaking of TOS, here’s what Klout says on pulling info on kids: http://klout.com/corp/privacy “Our Policy Towards ChildrenThe Site is not directed to persons under 18. If a parent or guardian becomes aware that his or her child has provided us with personally identifiable information without their consent, he or she should contact us at privacy@klout.com. We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from children under 13. If we become aware that a child under 13 has provided us with personal identifiable Information, we will delete such information from our files.”

          Pretty clear that they’re violating their own policy: they are creating profiles on all Facebook users they can crawl, even those under 13. Even if all their pulling is the name & avatar, that is personally identifiable information they don’t have consent for.

        • says

          @tonia_ries@sbhsbh Big difference between “providing info to Klout” and Klout scraping the info themselves.

          Since the new alogorithm seems to favour Facebook, and 20%+ of the Facebook demographic is between 13-17, I wonder how many profiles are there in violation?

        • sbhsbh says

          @tonia_ries@DannyBrown You’re right here…I’m guessing that your son doesn’t have his birthday on FB. The API wouldn’t know his age otherwise. So I would send them an e-mail with this info so his information is deleted from their files. Take care.

    • says

      @sbhsbh Mind you, since your last three posts are on staying loyal to Klout after the recent algorithm change, improving your Klout score, and asking why people aren’t on Klout yet, I think it’s fair to say you’re a wee bit biased towards Klout. 😉

      • sbhsbh says

        @DannyBrown less biased since the “algo” change…was a bit dramactic, but that’s another story…No matter what the network, my opinion would be the same.

  46. says

    Other than marketers and people in Social Media business just how prevalent is Klout anyway, is the average teen going to even know about or care about Klout in any way? Is the score really going to cause depression anymore than people who got depressed that they only had 50 / 100 friends on MySpace back in the day when MySpace was the hot thing. The biggest issue is revealing private accounts and being able to post/contact them through the Klout system when you wouldn’t be able to normally if you went to Facebook directly. There are other systems that track the same type of connections as Klout, have been on Twitter for a while. Twitter even recommends following people who are “private accounts” when you would never think to search for them in most cases. You can still contact them directly via @reply just can’t see their wall posts.

    • says

      @Dragon Blogger Hi Justin,

      Teens are just part of the equation (although with more than 20% of the Facebook demographic in the 13-17 age range, quite a big part). However, being unaware of Klout (or any other) isn’t the same as being unaffected.

      It only takes one savvy group of teens to find a profile and begin bullying based on scores for something “harmless” to quickly escalate.

      It’s not just teens, either – there are plenty of social media users with low self-esteem or confidence issues, and could see a low Klout score (or any other score) as confirmation of their unimportance, and tip them over.

      Dramatic, yes, but not unfeasible.

      There’s definitely a bigger privacy issue (and bypassing of that) at stake, and it’s a shame Klout seems to be happy to ignore this.

      Thanks for the thoughts, sir.

  47. meganberry says

    @fromtracie Privacy is very important to us, we are not displaying Klout pages for FB users who haven’t registered.

  48. hbrofman says

    @jkcallas interesting. read thru n agree pblm as described. I could nt duplcate behavior when clik’d on icons on my @klout page. fixed?

  49. KatherineBull says

    Don’t everyone jump on me if this is a dumb question but is your Klout score THAT key to winning business?

    Maybe I don’t get it. When I look at signing an author, their Klout score is absolutely meaningless to me.

      • KatherineBull says

        @DannyBrown

        Ha – no. But, it is what you DO and what your reputation is that gets a book deal. Not a score that, in my mind, can be gamed.

      • KatherineBull says

        @DannyBrown@RichBecker

        Rolling my eyes.

        So what abobut you? Do your clients look at your Klout score as a thumbs up/down to hiring you?

        • KatherineBull says

          @DannyBrown@RichBecker

          Sooooo…why be on Klout at all then? It doesn’t help you get business, I’m assuming by knowing you that you aren’t concerned about your influence “score” and Klout violates privacy?

          BTW…blocking Klout as an app on Facebook worked. That’s what I’d do.

        • says

          @KatherineBull@RichBecker Initially, curiosity. As someone who uses “influence” in blogger outreach programs and other social campaigns, knowing who’s who helps.

          As the flaws appeared and it was clear (to me) that it’s less about influence as it is about popularity, and the questions about its approach, I lost interest. Been trying to get my account deleted for 2 months+, sent a reminder email today. We’ll see.

          Thing with the app, I can see that working for folks that have connected. But what about people that have no idea what Klout is and have never signed up, yet have a profile? I don’t think that’d work?

        • KatherineBull says

          @DannyBrown@RichBecker

          That makes sense. It’s too bad it didn’t work the way you had hoped. I signed up in curiosity as well but then kind of forgot about it. I don’t have a big score so…shrug. Plus, I’m VERY influential in my own mind. That counts, right? Haha.

        • RichBecker says

          @KatherineBull@DannyBrown I’ve removed all but my Twitter account, after discovering how deep the privacy issues go. But you ask a fair question.

          Much like Danny, I have to understand these systems for my clients and as a part-time university professor. It’s one thing to not like a system or (in this case) discover it be ‘evil’ and something all together different to not know about it all. Ignorance can be equally unappealing to me.

          I sign up for many systems. Some I never visit again or to a limited degree just to see what they are doing.

          But more importantly, I think, you have to be aware to offer constructive criticism to colleagues or students (and sometimes the systems). And, because I do understand this one very well, can see it for what it is with evidence as opposed to speculation.

          Best,

          Rich

        • KatherineBull says

          @RichBecker@DannyBrown

          That’s a good point, Rich. One can’t jus bury their head and pretend it doesn’t exist. In fact, when I went to block Klout from FB, I discovered a whole bunch of apps that I had approved to link to FB. Whe I looked at what I had given them permission to have, I was truly appalled. Especially since I have a six year old daughter. Not paying attention is MY fault – nobody else’s.

      • RichBecker says

        @DannyBrown@KatherineBull BTW, do watch the WSJ video. If you find what the professor is doing to be haunting, his employee (a student he hired out of class based on Klout) is, for lack of a better word, infected by his thinking.

  50. says

    It’s disturbing to know that a company can scrape accounts to gather information about someone without their consent. Many know that it is done all the time and we take that risk, but there are so many people that are either trusting or lack technology savvy and just don’t realize how vulnerable they are.

    A “reputable” company should never require opt-out, they should only honor opt-in.

    • says

      @JoAnnCandelaria What’s even more disturbing, even if we give Klout the benefit of the doubt and allow the scraping, is that they’re breaking their own Privacy Terms.

      Klout says their site is for people over 18 – yet they’re scraping (and posting) profiles of minors that are only 13. Now that’s some cause for concern, if they don’t self-regulate their own Privacy controls.

      • says

        @DannyBrown@JoAnnCandelaria we all know that many companies are tracking and scraping our online data. But not many of them then uses that data to publish public and personally identifiable profiles – that’s one big difference.

    • says

      @SarahArrow Agreed. And the advice to make feeds private? So now we’re taking away our kids’ right to speak with their friends online, so a metric company can do what they wish?

      Riiiight…

      • says

        @DannyBrown No doubt it will come round to bite them when a parent sues them. Surely the onus is on Klout to have checked that persons privacy settings in the first place? This is an interesting one and no doubt Klout will keep their head in the sand and pretend they are in the right

      • says

        @DannyBrown @SarahArrow I also disconnected everything except Twitter tonight since Klout can’t seem to find the time to acknowledge these privacy concerns. Seriously considering disconnecting Twitter as well if they don’t address.

        I am connected to many minors from church and other. Can not risk me being the cause of Klout pulling their profiles and plastering their profile pics for all to see. @meganberry

  51. DannyBrown says

    @jkretch @Livefyre Yessir! :) Did you also see it on @tonia_ries post on same topic? Great stuff, way forward for commenting!

  52. lisasj says

    @anndouglas @DannyBrown I suspect kid was signed in to FB on same computer. For me, klout directs to my (private) FB *only* if I’m signed in

    • DannyBrown says

      @lisasj @anndouglas I wasn’t signed in to either his or his mom’s account and could still access from Klout…

      • anndouglas says

        @DannyBrown My sister is showing up on my feed w photo of her family. Not cool. Disconnected FB yesterday. Didn’t fix problem. cc @lisasj

  53. says

    I was beginning to think you might have a stake in Klout since Klout seems to be giving you a week of topics (Since a comment is two dimensional, I want to indicate tongue firmly in cheek and Danny I apologize if anyone thinks I’m questioning your reputation. I too have chosen a slippery slope). Assuming the A to B to C scenario can happen again, Klout is on trouble. Even if Klout has every standing to do this, Klout needs to decide if it wants to build lasting relationships or try and sell a million dollar vacuum cleaner, just once. Being the key to unlock private doors, awful business policy.

  54. says

    I look at these scores with a pinch of salt – most measure noise and that is not what this is about… and I have said this for some time… so the latest changes are not really of interest to me… however this is a very bad way to build a business by scraping data from every last possible content… bit like the unsavoury recovered meat that started the BSE crisis but for data…

    • says

      @AmandaHill Even worse, looking at some of the comments about this topic both here and elsewhere, it appears they keep your date even when they “remove” your profile. Lame and very questionable.

  55. hummingbird604 says

    @lacouvee @rebeccacoleman @DaveCharest This, to me, is more the result of Facebook keeping info even when logged out, than Klout’s fault

    • lacouvee says

      @hummingbird604 @rebeccacoleman @DaveCharest yes, most likely – still personally need to think it through. Young teen nieces & nephews!

  56. graceannounce says

    @anndouglas WOW all of these @klout changes are getting to be a bit much! This is scary… even more reason I wonder about social media…

    • anndouglas says

      @graceannounce When privacy issues are involved, @klout needs to take some sort of action immediately. Not acceptable.

      • graceannounce says

        @anndouglas Yes and if un-linking the account doesn’t fix the problem they need to fix asap. Let me know what happens.

  57. says

    Thanks for alerting everyone to this privacy concern. Kind of scary! I have a related concern — Klout keeping all your connection contact information even after you delete your Facebook connection from Klout. I am one of the people that saw a huge drop in Klout this week (to 38 from 54). Oddly enough, I also somehow got renamed after a Facebook page (I am one of several administrators) and recategorized as a brand influencer. That caused me to delete my Klout Facebook connection. After reading your post and because I am annoyed with Klout, I decided to keep it disconnected (oddly enough, deleting ALL my connections, e.g., Foursquare, LinkedIn, etc., did not lower my Klout score any further). Now, however, when I click on “Share” within Klout all my Facebook connections appear, even though that account is no longer linked. Either the connection is not deleted, despite my request and what Klout shows, or Klout downloaded all my friends’ personal contact information (some of them private accounts) to its servers. Either scenario is not a good one.

    • says

      @CyberlandGal the same thing happened to me. I’ve disconnected my Facebook account on Klout; I’ve revoked access for the app on Facebook — yet when I click on my son’s name (he is still there despite my request to Klout to remove him), it now opens a window pushing me to invite my Facebook friends to join Kout — and is either pulling my Facebook connections or, as you say, has them stored.

      • says

        @tonia_ries I am leaning to storing Facebook connection information and more. Per Danny’s suggestion above, I checked out Fernando Fonseca’s post. With a little more research, though, I found Fernando’s Klout account is NOT deleted. When you visit http://klout.com/#/techgraphica at least today, his Twitter avatar and Klout score show up under @techgraphica’s influence network. Also, if you search for his Twitter ID in Klout, his avatar flashes on the screen for a second (so you know it’s him) and then you get the message “This account is currently disabled. If you believe you’re seeing this message in error, please write contact@klout.com.”

        I’ve also noticed since I deleted my Facebook connection that my Facebook photo (different from my Twitter one) is showing up on my Facebook friend’s Klout pages with the same Klout score as my Twitter/main Klout profile. Clearly, since the score is the same (and as I mentioned before, I get all my Facebook friends when I hit share), Klout has retained all my information.

        • says

          @tonia_ries FYI, after reading the comments below, I went into Facebook and deleted the Klout app from the Facebook side. According to Facebook, Klout had accessed my Facebook information in the last 24 hours EVEN THOUGH IT HAS BEEN MORE THAN 24 HOURS SINCE I ATTEMPTED TO DELETE THE CONNECTION.

        • says

          @CyberlandGal here’s my theory: once they’ve crawled your network and created profiles for your friends, they now own those profiles. Just because you revoke access moving forward doesn’t mean they’re going to go delete the profiles they’ve already created. In other words, once you’ve spread the Klout virus, your friends are contaminated and there’s nothing you can do to change it.

        • says

          @tonia_ries@CyberlandGal The seedy practices of Klout just keep getting bigger and bigger, if they are indeed keeping information after deletion and revoking of access. Something tells me there’s a legal case here.

        • says

          @DannyBrown@tonia_ries FYI, revoking Klout’s access from the Facebook side did stop Klout’s “Share” button from displaying all my Facebook contacts. I have since noticed when I login to Klout I get a window asking if I want to share my Klout score on LinkedIn, etc. and clicking on LinkedIn did get a window with all my LinkedIn contacts –again DESPITE my deleting the LinkedIn connection a few days ago. I’ve now gone in to LinkedIn and removed Klout access from the LinkedIn side. Anyone who really wants to delete their Klout connections to LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. should probably do the same.

          Something tells me there’s a legal case here too.

        • says

          @CyberlandGal@tonia_ries This is how companies like Klout get you – they make it virtually impossible to leave, since many folks won’t be aware of the need to go into each network to revoke access.

          Total BS.

        • jureklepic says

          @DannyBrown@CyberlandGal@tonia_ries it’s because klout virtually download your activities and shared with 3rd party data companies. I analyzed their stupid TOS and gosh… you want to know, that even they very not so profesional to write their own terms of service. They copied them from or FB or Twitter. One of the terms talk about what you can share and post on Klout, really ? when Klout was a platform for sharing content ? I never saw anything like this, i got copy of their terms and service before they change them, as they did after i wrote first post on privacy issue and they just backdate them.

    • RichBecker says

      @CyberlandGal You know, if a company followed you around all day and rated your every move along with your family and friends (even in public), they would be arrested.

  58. jureklepic says

    There is to many comments to go over, just a WARNING: when you unlink your facebook or any other account on KLOUT make sure you revoke access in application itself as well. For instance go to facebook, account settings —> application —-> remove Klout and confirm, this is only way that’s Klout will not be able to access your Facebook account, same applies for LinkedIN.

    You have possibility as well to unlink Twitter, go in your Twitter —> settings —> application —> find Klout and REVOKE ACCESS. So Klout will not be able to track your activities on Twitter anymore. You will still have profile on Klout but score will not rise or drop anymore.

    Hope this help to everyone who want to stop Klout from tracking their activities.

    • jureklepic says

      I forgot to mention one things, go to your computer settings and remove all the cookies. Klout use cookies to improve the quality of their “service” , including for storing user preferences, improving search results and ad selection, and tracking user trends. Klout also uses cookies in its advertising services ” Perks”.

  59. BLOGBloke says

    @RichBecker Funny how everybody is up in arms about @Klout and yet @Google has been scraping us forever (well almost).

    • RichBecker says

      @BLOGBloke The difference is partially in how voluntary the secret sauce is, not meaning to imply that it makes it right.

  60. jureklepic says

    Danny look what i found out : I posted on FB and send to Mashable and few others:

    A great act of deception by Klout ! To get profile removed Klout is requesting to send an email. They will reply back that your profile was removed. BUT GUESS what, they are still collecting your data and utilizing even once you request to be removed. USERS profile is “masked” and will not be visible if someone look for it on Klout.com but you can see the score from REMOVED user in Klout browser extension on twitter.com. KLOUT THIS IS ILIGAL! Shame on you!

  61. CraigAtAbussi says

    @SarahArrow I have not linked my Facebook account as that’s more for private / personal / non-business stuff, but looks like I shouldn’t !!

    • SarahArrow says

      @CraigAtAbussi I regret ever experimenting with Klout if it can disregard my friends and families privacy options :(

  62. FrugalJenn says

    I don’t see how Klout is automatically adding her son to have an account with Klout, and allowing anyone to connect to his facebook profile that is said to be “private”. I click on all my friends whom Klout says I influence with the “Invite person to klout” option, and not one of their accounts is clickable until they become a member. I’m not saying this lady is lying, but something is not correct here. I’m thinking he created an account on Klout, and I don’t buy this hocus pocus until proven otherwise.

    • says

      @FrugalJenn Jenn, there are plenty other examples of accounts being created without user creation in the first place (just check some of the comments here and on other blogs). Klout’s reticence to answer questions about their creation suggests it’s not @tonia_ries or her son that’s guilty of “hocus pocus”.

      • says

        @DannyBrown@FrugalJenn Jenn – clicking on his name opened a profile page on Thursday (when I wrote my post) and on Friday. @DannyBrown included a screen shot of that page in his post above. As of Saturday, I was no longer able to open his page, or that of any of the other people who had been scraped from Facebook. So they changed the way the platform worked over the weekend. That said: his name, avatar and Klout score still appears on my profile, in my “influencer network”. You can see examples of this everywhere on Klout — if you see a user in someone’s network that has their Facebook icon colored in blue, but their Klout icon in gray (not orange), it means that Klout found them on Facebook but they have not activated their Klout account.

        • says

          @tonia_ries@FrugalJenn There have also been some interesting posts by @jureklepic in the last week or so, re. Klout’s methods and aversion to answering concerns – worth reading, Jenn.

  63. KatCaverly says

    You can now opt-out of Klout — thanks to the efforts of @DannyBrown @jureklepic alarming facts about Klout have been disseminated through the Twitterverse. I was ignored for 3 days, numerous emails and researching legal options but then Joe Fernandez emailed me and said that had built a self-service opt-out function within Klout.com.

    Opting out immediately removes your profile from Klout.com but I am the Klout Chrome Twitter plugin still displays a score. I am timing how long ti takes to display no score at all!

    • says

      @KatCaverly@jureklepic Nice to see Klout listen to the feedback/criticism and offer this option. Shame it had to be under “duress”, but kudos for actually implementing it.

    • says

      @KatCaverly@DannyBrown@jureklepic Glad to see an opt-out option, but I still believe the ethical thing is to have an opt-in policy. People shouldn’t have to opt-out of having their information shared to the world.

  64. bellebeandog says

    @nugglemama Reading that a child has a Klout score because he commented on his mom’s profile?!?! Frightening! #BoycottKlout

    • CarriBrown says

      @bellebeandog Yes! I signed up for it. Fine. But opt in everyone I talk to on Facebook? NOT COOL, @klout #BoycottKlout

  65. alexcampbell11 says

    @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.

  66. MamasMonologues says

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

  67. MyGOMOM says

    @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?

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