Klout CEO Joe Fernandez recently issued an apology for creating Klout profiles for minors.
"Recently, we erred in creating profiles for registered users’ Facebook friends who had recently interacted with them and did not have private accounts." Joe writes on the Klout blog. "...and when we realized that accounts for minors had been created we rolled the changes back."
Klout has received criticism in the past for its opt-out policy and in response, started letting users delete their profiles in November.
In Klout's November Twitter chat, the company reiterated its commitment to privacy, stating that it is one of their main focuses. The chat also focused on Klout's controversial algorithm change in October, which caused some users' scores to drop 20+ points.
Klout, founded in 2008 by Joe and Binh Tran, measures influence across the social web. The company has received $10M in funding to date from investors including Allen Morgan, Mayfield Fund, Greycroft Partners and Paige Craig.
By Joe Fernandez
Privacy on the social web is an incredibly complex issue that we approach with the utmost seriousness. Our mission is to help people understand their influence and to get the most out of it. With that goal in mind, it is critical that we are model citizens in this space and do everything we can to respect the privacy of our users. That said, like Facebook, Google, and nearly every other company in this space, we are working hard to figure this out, but will not always get everything right. Recently, we erred in creating profiles for registered users’ Facebook friends who had recently interacted with them and did not have private accounts. The public interactions were used to show which Facebook friends that registered user was influencing. While this is ok per Facebook’s policy, the data returned to us about friends does not include age information and when we realized that accounts for minors had been created we rolled the changes back.
We will always be vigilant in working with the platforms (Twitter/Facebook/etc), our legal counsel, and the community to do what’s right here. We messed up on this one and are deeply sorry.
I think it’s important to be specific, so here is how Klout thinks about and has always thought about social data:
- Klout analyzes public data to measure a person’s influence. The best way to think of this is in relation to how Google analyzes public websites to generate PageRank.
- Klout respects the privacy settings of all the networks it measures. If you have a private account on a social network and you have not explicitly given Klout access to your data it will not be analyzed.
- If you are creating public data but do not want it measured by Klout you can opt-out by going to the privacy page.
- Klout has no interest in understanding the influence of minors. We are working with Facebook and Twitter on this, as well as building our own safeguards to make sure this does not happen.
We look forward to continuing to work with the community and our partners to protect your privacy.
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